5 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: ARP, ATAX, AT, NAT, EROC

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."

Atlas Resource Partners

Dividend Yield: 11.10%

Atlas Resource Partners (NYSE: ARP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.10%.

Atlas Resource Partners, L.P. engages in the production of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids in basins across the United States. The company operates through three segments: Gas and Oil Production, Well Construction and Completion, and Other Partnership Management.

The average volume for Atlas Resource Partners has been 332,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Atlas Resource Partners has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 293.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$10.08 million to -$39.70 million.
  • The share price of ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP has not done very well: it is down 10.67% 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.
  • ARP's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.81 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. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.41 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP 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 year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.43 versus -$1.63).
  • Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails 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.

America First Multifamily Investors

Dividend Yield: 7.50%

America First Multifamily Investors (NASDAQ: ATAX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.50%.

America First Multifamily Investors, L.P. acquires, holds, sells, and deals in a portfolio of federally tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds that have been issued to provide construction and/or permanent financing of multifamily residential apartments. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.94.

The average volume for America First Multifamily Investors has been 66,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. America First Multifamily Investors has a market cap of $286.6 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates America First Multifamily Investors as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its unimpressive growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 54.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.21 million to $3.41 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. When compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, we do not believe this stock offers ample reward opportunity to compensate for the risks, despite the fact that it rose over the past year.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP is currently very high, coming in at 73.27%. 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 34.94% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 1007.23% to $4.76 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 39.64%.

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

Atlantic Power Corporation

Dividend Yield: 9.80%

Atlantic Power Corporation (NYSE: AT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.80%.

Atlantic Power Corporation operates as a power generation and infrastructure company with a portfolio of assets in the United States and Canada.

The average volume for Atlantic Power Corporation has been 1,003,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Atlantic Power Corporation has a market cap of $465.8 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 66% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Atlantic Power Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ATLANTIC POWER CORP 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, ATLANTIC POWER CORP reported poor results of -$1.10 versus -$0.39 in the prior year.
  • 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 Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 452.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$7.50 million to -$41.40 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 67.73%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 54.54% 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.02 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, AT's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.05, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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 Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market, ATLANTIC POWER CORP's return on equity significantly trails 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.

Nordic American Tankers

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

Nordic American Tankers (NYSE: NAT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

Nordic American Tankers Limited, a tanker company, engages in acquiring and chartering double-hull tankers. Its fleet consists of 20 double-hull Suezmax tankers. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The average volume for Nordic American Tankers has been 905,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nordic American Tankers has a market cap of $525.7 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nordic American Tankers as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to -$4.10 million or 31.72% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • The gross profit margin for NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD is currently extremely low, coming in at 8.94%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NAT's net profit margin of -30.48% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • NAT has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.65% 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.
  • NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD has improved earnings per share by 34.1% 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 year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD continued to lose money by earning -$1.38 versus -$1.53 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 11.6% in earnings (-$1.54 versus -$1.38).

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

Eagle Rock Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.60%

Eagle Rock Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EROC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.60%.

Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, engages in gathering, compressing, treating, processing, transporting, marketing, and trading natural gas, as well as fractionating and transporting natural gas liquids (NGL).

The average volume for Eagle Rock Energy Partners has been 894,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Eagle Rock Energy Partners has a market cap of $903.3 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 34.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Eagle Rock Energy Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.57 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. To add to this, EROC has a quick ratio of 0.66, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, EAGLE ROCK ENERGY PARTNRS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $47.12 million or 4.28% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, EAGLE ROCK ENERGY PARTNRS LP has marginally lower results.
  • EROC'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 37.88%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last 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.
  • EAGLE ROCK ENERGY PARTNRS LP has improved earnings per share by 24.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EAGLE ROCK ENERGY PARTNRS LP swung to a loss, reporting -$1.11 versus $0.38 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.08 versus -$1.11).

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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