3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: CNSL, EFC, NGPC

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 which could 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 "Hold."

Consolidated Communications

Dividend Yield: 7.80%

Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services to residential and business customers in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Kansas, and Missouri. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.38.

The average volume for Consolidated Communications has been 217,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Communications has a market cap of $800.9 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 2.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC has improved earnings per share by 14.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.74 versus $0.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.96 versus $0.74).
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 62.37%. Regardless of CNSL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CNSL's net profit margin of 2.12% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $43.72 million or 14.81% 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 8.27 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, CNSL has a quick ratio of 0.57, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.

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

Ellington Financial

Dividend Yield: 12.60%

Ellington Financial (NYSE: EFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.60%.

Ellington Financial LLC, a specialty finance company, acquires and manages mortgage-related assets, including residential mortgage backed securities backed by prime jumbo, Alt-A, manufactured housing and subprime residential mortgage loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.43.

The average volume for Ellington Financial has been 116,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ellington Financial has a market cap of $619.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 7.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ellington Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 16.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 37.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC is rather high; currently it is at 67.68%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 64.74% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC 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 year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC reported lower earnings of $3.46 versus $5.32 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 16.2% in earnings ($2.90 versus $3.46).
  • 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 40.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $24.79 million to $14.86 million.

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

NGP Capital Resources Company

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

NGP Capital Resources Company (NASDAQ: NGPC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

NGP Capital Resources Company is a business development company specializing in investments in small and mid size and middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 39.00.

The average volume for NGP Capital Resources Company has been 50,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. NGP Capital Resources Company has a market cap of $151.9 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 1.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NGP Capital Resources Company 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 disappointing return on equity and 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 16.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.8%. 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 1691.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$0.18 million to $2.91 million.
  • NGP CAPITAL RESOURCES CO 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, NGP CAPITAL RESOURCES CO reported lower earnings of $0.19 versus $0.80 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.56 versus $0.19).
  • In its most recent trading session, NGPC 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. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NGP CAPITAL RESOURCES CO 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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