What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks ARP, PWE, SDLP

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 "Sell."

Atlas Resource Partners

Dividend Yield: 11.20%

Atlas Resource Partners (NYSE: ARP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.20%.

Atlas Resource Partners, L.P. operates as an independent developer and producer of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Gas and Oil Production, Well Construction and Completion, and Other Partnership Management.

The average volume for Atlas Resource Partners has been 581,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Atlas Resource Partners has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Atlas Resource Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 111.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$18.91 million to -$40.00 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is rather low; currently it is at 20.44%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -22.08% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • ARP's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.44 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • The share price of ATLAS RESOURCE PARTNERS LP has not done very well: it is down 12.09% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.

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

Penn West Petroleum

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

Penn West Petroleum (NYSE: PWE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd., an exploration and production company, acquires, explores, develops, exploits, and holds interests in petroleum and natural gas properties and related assets in western Canada.

The average volume for Penn West Petroleum has been 2,163,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Penn West Petroleum has a market cap of $4.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 8.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Penn West Petroleum 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:
  • PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD 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 two years. During the past fiscal year, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD swung to a loss, reporting -$1.71 versus $0.37 in the prior year.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1273.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$53.00 million to -$728.00 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $329.00 million or 25.39% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD has marginally lower results.
  • The share price of PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD has not done very well: it is down 14.80% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

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

Seadrill Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.10%

Seadrill Partners (NYSE: SDLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.10%.

Seadrill Partners LLC owns, operates, and acquires offshore drilling rig. The company intends to acquire interests in three drilling rigs and one drillship. It plans to serve various oil companies. The company was founded in 2012 and is based in London, United Kingdom. The company has a P/E ratio of 105.55.

The average volume for Seadrill Partners has been 370,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Seadrill Partners has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 6.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Seadrill Partners as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been very high debt management risk by most measures.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.88 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, SDLP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.81, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, we do not believe this stock offers ample reward opportunity to compensate for the risks, despite the fact that it rose over the past year.
  • SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. During the past fiscal year, SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC increased its bottom line by earning $5.71 versus $1.51 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income increased by 184.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $22.00 million to $62.60 million.
  • Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded 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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