What To Hold: 4 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks EDUC, WSR, MARPS, VOC

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."

Educational Development Corporation

Dividend Yield: 9.00%

Educational Development Corporation (NASDAQ: EDUC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.00%.

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 32.35.

The average volume for Educational Development Corporation has been 6,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Educational Development Corporation has a market cap of $14.1 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 15.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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 7.6%. 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.
  • In its most recent trading session, EDUC 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. 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 338.50.

The average volume for Whitestone REIT has been 110,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Whitestone REIT has a market cap of $297.1 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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.

Marine Petroleum

Dividend Yield: 9.50%

Marine Petroleum (NASDAQ: MARPS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.50%.

Marine Petroleum Trust, through its subsidiary, Marine Petroleum Corporation, operates as a royalty trust in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.48.

The average volume for Marine Petroleum has been 4,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Marine Petroleum has a market cap of $31.9 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 16.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marine Petroleum as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has experienced relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year.

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 19.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MARPS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The gross profit margin for MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. MARPS has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MARPS's net profit margin of 96.11% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • In its most recent trading session, MARPS 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. 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.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds 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.

VOC Energy

Dividend Yield: 14.30%

VOC Energy (NYSE: VOC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.30%.

VOC Energy Trust acquires and holds a term net profits interest of the net proceeds from production of the interests in oil and natural gas properties in the states of Kansas and Texas. It owns an 80% term net profits interest of the net proceeds on the underlying properties.

The average volume for VOC Energy has been 88,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. VOC Energy has a market cap of $271.5 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates VOC Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • VOC has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The gross profit margin for VOC ENERGY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. VOC has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VOC's net profit margin of 95.27% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • 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 on the basis of return on equity, VOC ENERGY TRUST has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 31.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $10.20 million to $6.97 million.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null

More from Markets

Global Stocks Rally as US-China Trade War Thaws; Dow Could Test 25,000

Global Stocks Rally as US-China Trade War Thaws; Dow Could Test 25,000

Tesla Jumps on Model 3 Expansion Hopes, China Trade Truce

Tesla Jumps on Model 3 Expansion Hopes, China Trade Truce

Apple Gains as U.S. China Trade Tensions Ease After Weekend Summit

Apple Gains as U.S. China Trade Tensions Ease After Weekend Summit

Video: There Are Some Big Changes Coming to the PGA Championships in 2019

Video: There Are Some Big Changes Coming to the PGA Championships in 2019

Video: One-on-One With Pluralsight's CEO Following Its Successful IPO

Video: One-on-One With Pluralsight's CEO Following Its Successful IPO