5 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks To Check Out: LPHI, AMTG, MITT, TEU, ACRE

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."

Life Partners Holdings

Dividend Yield: 10.00%

Life Partners Holdings (NASDAQ: LPHI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.00%.

Life Partners Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, Life Partners, Inc., operates in the secondary market for life insurance worldwide. It facilitates the sale of life settlements between sellers and purchasers, but does not take possession or control of the policies.

The average volume for Life Partners Holdings has been 22,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Life Partners Holdings has a market cap of $37.3 million and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 23.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Life Partners Holdings as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. Stable Earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. During the past fiscal year, LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.16 versus -$0.17 in the prior year.
  • Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 86.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.
  • 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 where it was trading one year ago, LPHI is down 21.71% to its most recent closing price of 2.02. Looking ahead, our view is that this stock still does not have good upside potential and may even suffer further declines.
  • LPHI 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 4.31, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

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

Apollo Residential Mortgage

Dividend Yield: 10.70%

Apollo Residential Mortgage (NYSE: AMTG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

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 average volume for Apollo Residential Mortgage has been 473,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Apollo Residential Mortgage has a market cap of $479.6 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 24.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 27.58%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 91.40% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.
  • APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MTG INC has experienced 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 71.8% in earnings ($2.31 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 83.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $70.40 million to $11.69 million.
  • Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MTG INC's return on equity significantly trails 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 82.48%. Regardless of AMTG's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AMTG's net profit margin of 33.95% significantly outperformed against the industry.

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: 15.20%

AG Mortgage Investment (NYSE: MITT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.20%.

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 average volume for AG Mortgage Investment has been 337,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. AG Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $447.0 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 32.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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 90.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $61.22 million to $6.00 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, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and 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 29.29%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 97.09% 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 experienced 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 65.4% in earnings ($2.54 versus $7.34).
  • MITT, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 8.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 119.8%. 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.

Box Ships

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Box Ships (NYSE: TEU) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Box Ships Inc., a shipping company, engages in the seaborne transportation of containers worldwide. As of December 31, 2012, it had a fleet of 9 containerships with a total capacity of approximately 43,925 twenty-foot equivalent units. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.13.

The average volume for Box Ships has been 149,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Box Ships has a market cap of $83.6 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 18.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BOX SHIPS INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, BOX SHIPS INC reported lower earnings of $0.67 versus $0.80 in the prior year.
  • TEU's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 30.76%, which is also worse than the performance of the S&P 500 Index. 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'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 Marine industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BOX SHIPS INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • TEU's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.84 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.71 is weak.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Marine industry. The net income increased by 72.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.99 million to $3.43 million.

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

Ares Commercial Real Estate

Dividend Yield: 7.40%

Ares Commercial Real Estate (NYSE: ACRE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.40%.

Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, a specialty finance company, operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). It originates, invests in, and manages middle-market commercial real estate (CRE) loans and other commercial real estate investments. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.00.

The average volume for Ares Commercial Real Estate has been 306,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ares Commercial Real Estate has a market cap of $376.5 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 17.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ares Commercial Real Estate as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ACRE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 22.91% from its price level of one year ago. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE is rather high; currently it is at 55.72%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 40.37% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 263.71% to $0.79 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -6.77%.
  • ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.70 versus $0.10).

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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