What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks CTL, ARR, TWO

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

CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 6.80%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.80%.

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

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 5,235,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $18.7 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 18.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. At the same time, however, 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 3.6%. 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.
  • CENTURYLINK 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CENTURYLINK INC reported lower earnings of $1.24 versus $1.29 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.68 versus $1.24).
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

ARMOUR Residential REIT

Dividend Yield: 15.20%

ARMOUR Residential REIT (NYSE: ARR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 15.20%.

ARMOUR Residential REIT, Inc. is a real estate investment trust launched and managed by ARMOUR Residential Management LLC. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.30.

The average volume for ARMOUR Residential REIT has been 4,963,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. ARMOUR Residential REIT has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 39% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates ARMOUR Residential REIT as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

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. In comparison to the other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • ARR, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 216.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 518.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $54.94 million to -$229.94 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $86.27 million or 18.52% 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.

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Two Harbors Investment

Dividend Yield: 11.30%

Two Harbors Investment (NYSE: TWO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.30%.

Two Harbors Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on investing in, financing, and managing residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), residential mortgage loans, and other financial assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.50.

The average volume for Two Harbors Investment has been 4,224,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Two Harbors Investment has a market cap of $3.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 16.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Two Harbors Investment as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP is currently very high, coming in at 133.74%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 294.88% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP reported lower earnings of $1.11 versus $1.27 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 18.9% in earnings ($0.90 versus $1.11).
  • 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 819.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $26.80 million to -$192.73 million.

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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