What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks ERF, EQR, HTS

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."

Enerplus

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Enerplus (NYSE: ERF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Enerplus Corporation, together with subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of crude oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada.

The average volume for Enerplus has been 629,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enerplus has a market cap of $3.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enerplus as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ENERPLUS CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • ENERPLUS CORP 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, ENERPLUS CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.79 versus $0.62 in the prior year.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.32, 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 0.41 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • This stock has increased by 41.53% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in ERF do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.
  • 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 153.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$63.47 million to $34.02 million.

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