5 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: AMTG, MITT, EFC, RNF, TAC

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 5 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Sell."

Apollo Residential Mortgage

Dividend Yield: 17.70%

Apollo Residential Mortgage (NYSE: AMTG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 17.70%.

Apollo Residential Mortgage, Inc. operates as a residential real estate trust that invests in, finances, and manages residential mortgage assets in the United States. Its investment portfolio includes agency and non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.60.

The average volume for Apollo Residential Mortgage has been 570,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Apollo Residential Mortgage has a market cap of $507.5 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 22.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apollo Residential Mortgage as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MTG INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 71.1% in earnings ($2.37 versus $8.19).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 375.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $26.40 million to -$72.77 million.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 31.25%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 292.74% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MTG INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MTG INC is currently very high, coming in at 87.06%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -175.88% is in-line with the industry average.

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

AG Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 14.00%

AG Mortgage Investment (NYSE: MITT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.00%.

AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust, focuses on investing, acquiring, and managing a portfolio of residential mortgage assets, and other real estate-related securities and financial assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.81.

The average volume for AG Mortgage Investment has been 406,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. AG Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $485.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 27.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AG Mortgage Investment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 258.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $44.92 million to -$71.24 million.
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 27.43%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 193.33% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $7.34 versus $2.01 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 63.1% in earnings ($2.71 versus $7.34).
  • MITT, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 10.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 224.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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

Ellington Financial

Dividend Yield: 13.80%

Ellington Financial (NYSE: EFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.80%.

Ellington Financial LLC, a specialty finance company, acquires and manages mortgage-related assets, including residential mortgage backed securities backed by prime jumbo, Alt-A, manufactured housing and subprime residential mortgage loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.35.

The average volume for Ellington Financial has been 120,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ellington Financial has a market cap of $566.0 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 0.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ellington Financial as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$290.88 million or 725.27% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • In its most recent trading session, EFC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. 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.
  • ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC's earnings per share declined by 23.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC increased its bottom line by earning $5.32 versus $0.61 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 27.6% in earnings ($3.85 versus $5.32).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Capital Markets industry average. The net income increased by 7.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $10.77 million to $11.60 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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

Rentech Nitrogen Partners

Dividend Yield: 13.30%

Rentech Nitrogen Partners (NYSE: RNF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.30%.

Rentech Nitrogen Partners, L.P. engages in the manufacture and sale of nitrogen fertilizer products for use in the United States. The company operates in two segments, East Dubuque and Pasadena. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.02.

The average volume for Rentech Nitrogen Partners has been 150,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Rentech Nitrogen Partners has a market cap of $993.4 million and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 29.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Rentech Nitrogen Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow, generally high debt management risk, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Chemicals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 30.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $41.23 million to $28.72 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $0.45 million or 97.41% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.03 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, RNF has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 2.06, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 33.62%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 31.48% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • RENTECH NITROGEN PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 31.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RENTECH NITROGEN PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.78 versus $0.36 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 34.2% in earnings ($1.83 versus $2.78).

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

TransAlta Corporation

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

TransAlta Corporation (NYSE: TAC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

TransAlta Corporation operates as a non-regulated electricity generation and energy marketing company in Canada, the United States, and Australia. The company engages in the generation and wholesale trade of electricity and other energy-related commodities and derivatives. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.75.

The average volume for TransAlta Corporation has been 106,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. TransAlta Corporation has a market cap of $3.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 12.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates TransAlta Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • TAC has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 11.45% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • Despite the current debt-to-equity ratio of 1.51, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.49 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market, TRANSALTA CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 103.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$791.00 million to $25.00 million.
  • TRANSALTA CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TRANSALTA CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$2.72 versus $1.30 in the prior year.

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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