What To Hold: 4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks ACC, WIN, WGL, BBEP

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 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

American Campus Communities

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

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 66.38.

The average volume for American Campus Communities has been 889,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Campus Communities has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 30.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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, good cash flow from operations and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 41.2%. 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 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 7424.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.63 million to $47.18 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 29.53%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 150.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, ACC is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • AMERICAN CAMPUS COMMUNITIES 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN CAMPUS COMMUNITIES reported lower earnings of $0.55 versus $0.58 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 15.4% in earnings ($0.47 versus $0.55).

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

Windstream Holdings

Dividend Yield: 12.60%

Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.60%.

Windstream Holdings, Inc. provides communications and technology solutions in the United States. The company offers managed services and cloud computing services to businesses, as well as broadband, voice, and video services to consumers primarily in rural markets. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.90.

The average volume for Windstream Holdings has been 6,077,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Windstream Holdings has a market cap of $4.7 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 3.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Windstream Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $448.10 million or 10.15% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -7.48%.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.7%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 10.35 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, WIN has a quick ratio of 0.50, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The share price of WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC has not done very well: it is down 6.10% 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. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

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

WGL Holdings

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

WGL Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, sells and delivers natural gas, and provides energy-related products and services. The company operates in four segments: Regulated Utility, Retail Energy-Marketing, Commercial Energy Systems, and Midstream Energy Services. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.03.

The average volume for WGL Holdings has been 284,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. WGL Holdings has a market cap of $2.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates WGL Holdings 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 and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.74, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.24 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$68.35 million or 31.80% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, WGL HOLDINGS INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 42.32%.
  • WGL, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 15.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • In its most recent trading session, WGL 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. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • 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 Gas Utilities industry and the overall market, WGL HOLDINGS 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.

BreitBurn Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.00%

BreitBurn Energy Partners (NASDAQ: BBEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.00%.

BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. engages in the acquisition, exploitation, and development of oil and gas properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 649.33.

The average volume for BreitBurn Energy Partners has been 963,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. BreitBurn Energy Partners has a market cap of $1.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates BreitBurn Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BBEP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 232.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 65.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$73.00 million to -$25.01 million.
  • 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. 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 return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, BREITBURN ENERGY PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05 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, BBEP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.71, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.

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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