What To Hold: 5 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks EDUC, WSR, QRE, EVEP, MCEP

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 "Hold."

Educational Development Corporation

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

Educational Development Corporation (NASDAQ: EDUC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

Educational Development Corporation operates as a trade publisher of the line of children's books in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.36.

The average volume for Educational Development Corporation has been 6,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Educational Development Corporation has a market cap of $15.0 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 23.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Educational Development Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins 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 and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EDUC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 7.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 61.24%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.44% is above that of the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Distributors industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 4.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.53 million to $0.55 million.
  • EDUC has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 10.87% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • 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 Distributors industry and the overall market, EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP'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.

Whitestone REIT

Dividend Yield: 8.40%

Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.40%.

WhiteStone REIT is a Maryland REIT engaged in owning and operating commercial properties in culturally diverse markets in major metropolitan areas. The company has a P/E ratio of 340.25.

The average volume for Whitestone REIT has been 127,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Whitestone REIT has a market cap of $298.6 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 1.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Whitestone REIT as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. 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 poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 39.0%. 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 210.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.20 million to $0.61 million.
  • WHITESTONE REIT 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, WHITESTONE REIT reported lower earnings of $0.04 versus $0.11 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.24 versus $0.04).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, WHITESTONE REIT underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for WHITESTONE REIT is rather low; currently it is at 20.39%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.76% significantly 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.

QR Energy

Dividend Yield: 11.20%

QR Energy (NYSE: QRE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.20%.

QR Energy, LP, through its subsidiary, QRE Operating, LLC, engages in the acquisition, exploitation, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for QR Energy has been 307,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. QR Energy has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates QR Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 38.3%. 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 51.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$44.66 million to -$21.72 million.
  • QR 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, QR ENERGY LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.15 versus $0.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.18 versus -$0.15).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.39 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, QRE's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.07, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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, QR ENERGY 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.

EV Energy Partner

Dividend Yield: 9.10%

EV Energy Partner (NASDAQ: EVEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%.

EV Energy Partners, L.P. engages in the acquisition, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for EV Energy Partner has been 330,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. EV Energy Partner has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates EV Energy Partner 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 generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.5%. 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 75.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$50.02 million to -$12.31 million.
  • The gross profit margin for EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP is rather high; currently it is at 63.11%. 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 -15.12% is in-line with the industry average.
  • 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, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $48.83 million or 21.23% 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.

Mid-Con Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.10%

Mid-Con Energy Partners (NASDAQ: MCEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%.

Mid-Con Energy Partners, LP engages in the acquisition, exploitation, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.22.

The average volume for Mid-Con Energy Partners has been 76,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mid-Con Energy Partners has a market cap of $438.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mid-Con Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MCEP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 59.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MID-CON ENERGY PARTNERS -LP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of 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. Looking ahead, our view is that this company's fundamentals will not have much impact in either direction, allowing the stock to generally move up or down based on the push and pull of the broad market.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.68 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, MCEP's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.32, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $12.90 million or 3.72% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, MID-CON ENERGY PARTNERS -LP has marginally lower results.

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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