What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks ARP, HLSS, 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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Sell."

Atlas Resource Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.40%

Atlas Resource Partners (NYSE: ARP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.40%.

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 370,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Atlas Resource Partners has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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 5.54% 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 (-$0.24 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.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ: HLSS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., through its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition of mortgage servicing assets. Its mortgage servicing assets consists of servicing advances, mortgage servicing rights, rights to mortgage servicing rights, and other related assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.65.

The average volume for Home Loan Servicing Solutions has been 450,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Home Loan Servicing Solutions has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Home Loan Servicing Solutions as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its disappointing return on equity.

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. When compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS'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.
  • HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS has improved earnings per share by 32.4% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS turned its bottom line around by earning $1.23 versus -$0.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.91 versus $1.23).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average. The net income increased by 431.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $6.57 million to $34.92 million.
  • The gross profit margin for HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS is currently very high, coming in at 95.21%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 46.32% is above that of the industry average.

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: 9.90%

Eagle Rock Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EROC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.90%.

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 1,222,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Eagle Rock Energy Partners has a market cap of $965.5 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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 33.85%, 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 (-$0.07 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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