3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: LGCY, MSB, CODI

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

TheStreet Ratings' stock model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Our Buy, Hold or Sell ratings designate how we expect these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.

While plenty of high-yield opportunities exist, investors must always consider the safety of their dividend and the total return potential of their investment. It is not uncommon for a struggling company to suspend high-yielding dividends and subsequently result in precipitous share price declines.

TheStreet Ratings' stock rating model views dividends favorably, but not so much that other factors are disregarded. Our model gauges the relationship between risk and reward in several ways, including: the pricing drawdown as compared to potential profit volatility, i.e. how much one is willing to risk in order to earn profits?; the level of acceptable volatility for highly performing stocks; the current valuation as compared to projected earnings growth; and the financial strength of the underlying company as compared to its stock's valuation as compared to its stock's performance.

These and many more derived observations are then combined, ranked, weighted, and scenario-tested to create a more complete analysis. The result is a systematic and disciplined method of selecting stocks. As always, stock ratings should not be treated as gospel — rather, use them as a starting point for your own research.

The following pages contain our analysis of 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

Legacy Reserves LP, an independent oil and natural gas limited partnership, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties primarily located in the Permian Basin, Mid-Continent, and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States.

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 162,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 12.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Legacy Reserves as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 50.52% to $67.39 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LEGACY RESERVES LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -17.93%.
  • The gross profit margin for LEGACY RESERVES LP is rather high; currently it is at 54.96%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LGCY's net profit margin of 15.13% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • LGCY, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 12.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.36 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, LGCY maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.73, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, LEGACY RESERVES LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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Mesabi

Dividend Yield: 8.40%

Mesabi (NYSE: MSB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.40%.

Mesabi Trust operates as a royalty trust in the United States. The company produces iron ore pellets. It holds interest in the Peter Mitchell mine located in the Mesabi Iron Range near Babbitt, Minnesota. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.77.

The average volume for Mesabi has been 59,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mesabi has a market cap of $288.4 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 16% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mesabi as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MSB has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.77, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, MESABI TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for MESABI TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. MSB has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MSB's net profit margin of 87.06% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • The share price of MESABI TRUST has not done very well: it is down 24.43% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • MESABI TRUST's earnings per share declined by 34.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, MESABI TRUST reported lower earnings of $2.35 versus $2.53 in the prior year.

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Compass Diversified Holdings Shares of Bene

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

Compass Diversified Holdings Shares of Bene (NYSE: CODI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

Compass Diversified Holdings is a public investment firm specializing in acquiring controlling stakes in small to middle market companies. The firm seeks to make middle market and buyout investments.

The average volume for Compass Diversified Holdings Shares of Bene has been 151,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Compass Diversified Holdings Shares of Bene has a market cap of $840.4 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 17.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Compass Diversified Holdings Shares of Bene as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.77, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.08, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The gross profit margin for COMPASS DIVERSIFIED HOLDINGS is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.13%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -0.23% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Financial Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 848.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.08 million to -$0.57 million.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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