3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: HLSS, MITT, TAC

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."

Home Loan Servicing Solutions

Dividend Yield: 9.00%

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ: HLSS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.00%.

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 10.29.

The average volume for Home Loan Servicing Solutions has been 420,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Home Loan Servicing Solutions has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 13.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Home Loan Servicing Solutions as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • In its most recent trading session, HLSS 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. 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.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 49924.76% to $160.93 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -19.17%.

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

AG Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 14.50%

AG Mortgage Investment (NYSE: MITT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.50%.

AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust, focuses on investing, acquiring, and managing a portfolio of residential mortgage assets, and other real estate-related securities and financial assets.

The average volume for AG Mortgage Investment has been 318,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. AG Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $468.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 90.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $61.22 million to $6.00 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, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST'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 35.28%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 97.09% 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.
  • AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST 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, AG MORTGAGE INVESTMENT TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $7.34 versus $2.01 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 65.7% in earnings ($2.52 versus $7.34).
  • MITT, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 119.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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

TransAlta Corporation

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

TransAlta Corporation (NYSE: TAC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

TransAlta Corporation operates as a non-regulated electricity generation and energy marketing company in Canada, the United States, and Australia. The company engages in the generation and wholesale trade of electricity and other energy-related commodities and derivatives. The company has a P/E ratio of 58.64.

The average volume for TransAlta Corporation has been 115,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. TransAlta Corporation has a market cap of $3.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 1.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates TransAlta Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in its earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The share price of TRANSALTA CORP has not done very well: it is down 20.75% 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. 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.
  • TRANSALTA 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, TRANSALTA CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$2.72 versus $1.30 in the prior year.
  • 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 Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 100.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $64.00 million to $0.00 million.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.40, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.46 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TRANSALTA CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of 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.

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