What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks KFN, AINV, NRF

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."

KKR Financial Holdings

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

KKR Financial Holdings (NYSE: KFN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

KKR Financial Holdings LLC, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty finance company with expertise in a range of asset classes in the United States. The company operates through Credit, Natural Resources, and Other segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.04.

The average volume for KKR Financial Holdings has been 983,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. KKR Financial Holdings has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates KKR Financial Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels 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 generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.2%. 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.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • 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 Diversified Financial Services industry. The net income has decreased by 10.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $77.01 million to $68.88 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.38 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company.

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