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.

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

Equity Residential

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Equity Residential, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the acquisition, development, and management of multifamily properties in the United States.

The average volume for Equity Residential has been 2,258,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Equity Residential has a market cap of $20.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 11.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equity Residential as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity 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 69.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $367.02 million to $110.98 million.
  • 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, EQUITY RESIDENTIAL's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • EQUITY RESIDENTIAL 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 year. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EQUITY RESIDENTIAL swung to a loss, reporting -$0.46 versus $0.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.15 versus -$0.46).
  • In its most recent trading session, EQR 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. Regardless of the rise in share value over the previous year, we feel that the risks involved in investing in this stock do not compensate for any future upside potential.
  • 35.00% is the gross profit margin for EQUITY RESIDENTIAL which we consider to be strong. 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 17.36% 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: 10.60%

Hatteras Financial Corporation (NYSE: HTS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.60%.

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 1,317,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hatteras Financial Corporation has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 15.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 32.78%, 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $79.43 million or 30.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -56.67%.

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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