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." CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.40%. CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States. The company operates through four segments: Consumer, Business, Wholesale, and Data Hosting. The average volume for CenturyLink has been 5,842,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $19.4 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- CENTURYLINK INC has improved earnings per share by 10.8% 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, CENTURYLINK INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.43 versus $1.24 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.56 versus -$0.43).
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
- The gross profit margin for CENTURYLINK INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.86%. Regardless of CTL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CTL's net profit margin of 5.26% is significantly lower than the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has decreased to $1,151.00 million or 16.53% 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.
- 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, CENTURYLINK INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- You can view the full CenturyLink Ratings Report.