3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: ATAX, DCIX, LGP

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."

America First Multifamily Investors

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

America First Multifamily Investors (NASDAQ: ATAX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

America First Multifamily Investors, L.P. acquires, holds, sells, and deals in a portfolio of federally tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds that have been issued to provide construction and/or permanent financing of multifamily residential apartments. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.84.

The average volume for America First Multifamily Investors has been 369,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. America First Multifamily Investors has a market cap of $346.1 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 6.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates America First Multifamily Investors as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $3.56 million or 13.12% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • ATAX has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.05% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP is currently very high, coming in at 72.51%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 21.48% is above that of the industry average.
  • AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP has improved earnings per share by 25.0% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP increased its bottom line by earning $0.34 versus $0.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.41 versus $0.34).

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

Diana Containerships

Dividend Yield: 16.00%

Diana Containerships (NASDAQ: DCIX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 16.00%.

Diana Containerships Inc. operates in the seaborne transportation industry. It owns and operates containerships. Its fleet consists of 6 panamax and 2 post-panamax containerships with a combined carrying capacity of 36,165 TEU. The company was founded in 2010 and is based in Athens, Greece.

The average volume for Diana Containerships has been 181,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Diana Containerships has a market cap of $135.4 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Diana Containerships as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself 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 Marine industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 7400.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.27 million to -$19.78 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 Marine industry and the overall market, DIANA CONTAINERSHIPS INC'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 28.96%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 5900.00% 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.
  • DIANA CONTAINERSHIPS INC 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. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DIANA CONTAINERSHIPS INC swung to a loss, reporting -$1.75 versus $0.24 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.02 versus -$1.75).
  • DCIX's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.90 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.

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

Lehigh Gas Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Lehigh Gas Partners (NYSE: LGP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Lehigh Gas Partners LP is engaged in the wholesale distribution of motor fuels to sub-wholesalers, independent dealers, lessee dealers, and others; and retail distribution of motor fuels to end customers at commission sites in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.90.

The average volume for Lehigh Gas Partners has been 45,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lehigh Gas Partners has a market cap of $300.0 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Lehigh Gas Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.54 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, LGP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.72, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for LEHIGH GAS PARTNERS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 3.39%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.80% trails that of the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago, the stock is now trading at a higher level, and has traded in line with the S&P 500. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry, implying reduced upside potential.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 1.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $4.00 million to $3.92 million.
  • LEHIGH GAS PARTNERS LP' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, LEHIGH GAS PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.19 versus $0.23 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.31 versus $1.19).

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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