What To Hold: 4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks NTI, NS, HCN, PCG

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."

Northern Tier Energy

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

Northern Tier Energy (NYSE: NTI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

Northern Tier Energy LP operates as an independent downstream energy company with refining, retail, and pipeline operations in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Refining and Retail. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.75.

The average volume for Northern Tier Energy has been 931,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Northern Tier Energy has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.8%. 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.
  • NTI's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.69 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 0.79 is weak.
  • The gross profit margin for NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 3.74%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 2.01% trails that of the industry average.
  • 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 55.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $61.10 million to $27.20 million.

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

NuStar Energy L.P

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

NuStar Energy L.P (NYSE: NS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

NuStar Energy L.P. engages in the terminalling, storage, and transportation of petroleum products primarily in the United States and the Netherlands. The company operates in three segments: Storage, Transportation, and Asphalt and Fuels Marketing. The company has a P/E ratio of 69.77.

The average volume for NuStar Energy L.P has been 585,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. NuStar Energy L.P has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NuStar Energy L.P as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 660.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $4.39 million to $33.40 million.
  • NUSTAR ENERGY LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, NUSTAR ENERGY LP swung to a loss, reporting -$3.05 versus $2.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.09 versus -$3.05).
  • NS, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 51.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $146.99 million or 38.69% 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 debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04 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, NS maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.82, 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.

Health Care REIT

Dividend Yield: 5.70%

Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.70%.

Health Care REIT, Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm engages in acquiring, planning, developing, managing, repositioning and monetizing of real estate assets. It primarily invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 73.34.

The average volume for Health Care REIT has been 1,804,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Health Care REIT has a market cap of $15.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Health Care REIT as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth 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:
  • HCN's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 70.6%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $219.17 million or 3.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, HEALTH CARE REIT INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 8.55%.
  • HEALTH CARE REIT INC's earnings per share declined by 44.4% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, HEALTH CARE REIT INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.46 versus $0.34 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 10.9% in earnings ($0.41 versus $0.46).
  • The gross profit margin for HEALTH CARE REIT INC is rather low; currently it is at 18.93%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 4.74% significantly trails the industry average.
  • The share price of HEALTH CARE REIT INC has not done very well: it is down 12.42% 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.

PG&E

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

PG&E (NYSE: PCG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

PG&E Corporation, through its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (Utility), transmits, delivers, and sells electricity and natural gas to customers primarily in northern and central California. The Utility provides services to approximately 15 million people. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.63.

The average volume for PG&E has been 2,694,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. PG&E has a market cap of $17.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PG&E as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PCG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,374.00 million or 7.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, PG&E CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 26.59%.
  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 54.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $364.00 million to $164.00 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. When compared to other companies in the Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market, PG&E CORP'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.

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