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 5 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Sell."

CYS Investments

Dividend Yield: 16.80%

CYS Investments (NYSE: CYS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 16.80%.

CYS Investments, Inc., a specialty finance company, makes leveraged investments in whole-pool residential mortgage pass-through securities where the principal and interest payments are guaranteed.

The average volume for CYS Investments has been 3,152,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. CYS Investments has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CYS Investments as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CYS INVESTMENTS 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CYS INVESTMENTS INC reported lower earnings of $2.75 versus $3.63 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 49.5% in earnings ($1.39 versus $2.75).
  • 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 87.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $241.91 million to $30.57 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CYS INVESTMENTS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 40.16%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 90.41% compared to the year-earlier 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.
  • The gross profit margin for CYS INVESTMENTS INC is currently very high, coming in at 93.46%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 35.69% significantly outperformed against 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.

Retail Properties of American

Dividend Yield: 5.30%

Retail Properties of American (NYSE: RPAI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.30%.

Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. It engages in acquisition, development and management of properties. The trust invests in the real estate markets of United States.

The average volume for Retail Properties of American has been 1,384,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Retail Properties of American has a market cap of $3.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Retail Properties of American as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share and unimpressive growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • RETAIL PPTYS OF AMERICA 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, 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 135.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$15.95 million to -$37.55 million.
  • In its most recent trading session, RPAI 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 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.
  • Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, RETAIL PPTYS OF AMERICA INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 119.32% to $76.38 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, RETAIL PPTYS OF AMERICA INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.56%.

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

American Capital Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 14.10%

American Capital Mortgage Investment (NASDAQ: MTGE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.10%.

American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States.

The average volume for American Capital Mortgage Investment has been 677,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $978.7 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Capital Mortgage Investment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 27.32%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 93.79% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.
  • 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 90.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $146.24 million to $13.70 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$4.57 million or 109.48% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP 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 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, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP increased its bottom line by earning $8.40 versus $1.72 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 64.5% in earnings ($2.98 versus $8.40).

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

Penn West Petroleum

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

Penn West Petroleum (NYSE: PWE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd., an exploration and production company, engages in acquiring, exploring, developing, exploiting, and holding interests in petroleum and natural gas properties and related assets in western Canada.

The average volume for Penn West Petroleum has been 2,534,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Penn West Petroleum has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Penn West Petroleum as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • PWE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 23.49% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD reported lower earnings of $0.37 versus $1.37 in the prior year.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.48 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The gross profit margin for PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD is rather high; currently it is at 60.85%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 4.57% trails 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.

Hatteras Financial Corporation

Dividend Yield: 11.40%

Hatteras Financial Corporation (NYSE: HTS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.40%.

Hatteras Financial Corp. operates as an externally-managed mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States.

The average volume for Hatteras Financial Corporation has been 1,331,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hatteras Financial Corporation has a market cap of $1.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hatteras Financial Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HATTERAS FINANCIAL 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, HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP reported lower earnings of $3.65 versus $3.96 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 127.1% in earnings (-$0.99 versus $3.65).
  • 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 411.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $84.05 million to -$262.15 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $79.43 million or 30.50% 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.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 34.02%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 427.71% compared to the year-earlier 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.

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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