Hold These Top 5 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: ACC, CTL, NLY, CBL, PM

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 "Hold."

American Campus Communities

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

American Campus Communities, Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It primarily engages in developing, owning, and managing high-quality student housing communities. The company has a P/E ratio of 69.60.

The average volume for American Campus Communities has been 892,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Campus Communities has a market cap of $3.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 27.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Campus Communities as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 34.0%. 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.
  • AMERICAN CAMPUS COMMUNITIES's earnings have gone downhill when comparing its most recently reported quarter with the same quarter a year earlier. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has managed its earnings and share float. We anticipate this stability to falter in the coming year and, in turn, the company to deliver lower earnings per share than prior full year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN CAMPUS COMMUNITIES reported lower earnings of $0.57 versus $0.58 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 17.5% in earnings ($0.47 versus $0.57).
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, AMERICAN CAMPUS COMMUNITIES underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of 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.

CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 6.90%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.90%.

CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 5,184,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $18.6 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 19.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for CENTURYLINK INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.59%. 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 -23.14% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.23, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry.
  • 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 Telecommunication Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 487.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $270.00 million to -$1,045.00 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CENTURYLINK INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of 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.

Annaly Capital Management

Dividend Yield: 13.10%

Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.10%.

Annaly Capital Management, Inc. owns, manages, and finances a portfolio of real estate related investments in United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.15.

The average volume for Annaly Capital Management has been 13,909,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Annaly Capital Management has a market cap of $10.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 23.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Annaly Capital Management as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT is currently very high, coming in at 91.13%. Regardless of NLY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NLY's net profit margin of 29.04% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Looking at the price performance of NLY's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 25.96%, and it has underformed the S&P 500 Index. In addition, the company's earnings per share are lower today than 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.
  • 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 decreased by 14.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $224.76 million to $192.46 million.

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

CBL & Associates Properties

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

CBL & Associates Properties (NYSE: CBL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. is a public real estate investment trust. It engages in acquisition, development, and management of properties. The fund invests in the real estate markets of United States. Its portfolio consists of enclosed malls and open-air centers. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.74.

The average volume for CBL & Associates Properties has been 1,764,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. CBL & Associates Properties has a market cap of $3.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CBL & Associates Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.63 versus $0.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.66 versus $0.63).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 325.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.07 million to $34.32 million.
  • 38.61% is the gross profit margin for CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, CBL's net profit margin of 13.18% significantly trails the industry average.
  • CBL has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 18.87% 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.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CBL & ASSOCIATES PPTYS INC's return on equity is below 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.

Philip Morris International

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Philip Morris International Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes and other tobacco products. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.20.

The average volume for Philip Morris International has been 5,000,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Philip Morris International has a market cap of $145.2 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 8.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Philip Morris International as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has experienced relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL has improved earnings per share by 9.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL increased its bottom line by earning $5.18 versus $4.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.39 versus $5.18).
  • The gross profit margin for PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL is rather high; currently it is at 69.43%. Regardless of PM's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PM's net profit margin of 29.51% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • 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 the Tobacco industry average. The net income increased by 5.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $2,227.00 million to $2,340.00 million.
  • In its most recent trading session, PM 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. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.

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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