What To Hold: 4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks BWP, LINE, EEP, WPC

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."

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP, through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and operation of integrated natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) pipelines, and storage systems in the United States. The company also transports, stores, gathers, and processes natural gas and NGLs. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.07.

The average volume for Boardwalk Pipeline Partners has been 632,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Boardwalk Pipeline Partners has a market cap of $5.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 4.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Boardwalk Pipeline Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BWP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.8%. 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.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 7.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $58.20 million to $62.30 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, BOARDWALK PIPELINE PRTNRS-LP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $116.80 million or 10.01% 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.

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

Linn Energy

Dividend Yield: 9.60%

Linn Energy (NASDAQ: LINE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.60%.

Linn Energy, LLC, an independent oil and natural gas company, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties.

The average volume for Linn Energy has been 2,271,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Linn Energy has a market cap of $7.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 4.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Linn Energy 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 also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • LINE's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 923.3%. 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 93.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$430.01 million to -$30.06 million.
  • LINN ENERGY LLC 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, LINN ENERGY LLC swung to a loss, reporting -$1.86 versus $2.21 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.07 versus -$1.86).
  • LINE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 13.30% 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.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.61 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.46, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

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

Enbridge Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE: EEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. owns and operates crude oil and liquid petroleum transportation and storage assets; and natural gas gathering, treating, processing, transportation, and marketing assets in the United States.

The average volume for Enbridge Energy Partners has been 716,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enbridge Energy Partners has a market cap of $7.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enbridge Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth 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, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.4%. 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 increased to $465.00 million or 32.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 2.81%.
  • In its most recent trading session, EEP 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -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. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -LP reported lower earnings of $1.25 versus $1.89 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 43.2% in earnings ($0.71 versus $1.25).
  • 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 80.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $215.20 million to $41.00 million.

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

W. P. Carey

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

W. P. Carey (NYSE: WPC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

W. P. Carey Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm also provides long-term sale-leaseback and build-to-suit financing for companies. It invests in the real estate markets across the globe. The company has a P/E ratio of 68.91.

The average volume for W. P. Carey has been 297,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. W. P. Carey has a market cap of $4.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates W. P. Carey 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 growth in the company's earnings per share has not been good.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WPC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 99.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 615.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.59 million to $18.51 million.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, W P CAREY INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • W P CAREY INC has improved earnings per share by 23.8% 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, W P CAREY INC reported lower earnings of $1.96 versus $3.71 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 29.1% in earnings ($1.39 versus $1.96).

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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