What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks KFN, EDR, LINE

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: 7.30%

KKR Financial Holdings (NYSE: KFN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.30%.

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 971,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. KKR Financial Holdings has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 1.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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.

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

Education Realty

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Education Realty (NYSE: EDR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Education Realty Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), develops, acquires, owns, and manages student housing communities located near university campuses in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 243.50.

The average volume for Education Realty has been 1,301,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Education Realty has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 16.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Education Realty as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 33.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 393.71% to $13.83 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, EDUCATION REALTY TRUST INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 11.11%.
  • EDUCATION REALTY TRUST INC 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 two years. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EDUCATION REALTY TRUST INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.05 versus -$0.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects earnings to be in line with last year ($0.05 versus $0.05).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 65.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $4.79 million to $1.64 million.
  • EDR has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 9.64% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.

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

Linn Energy

Dividend Yield: 9.90%

Linn Energy (NASDAQ: LINE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.90%.

Linn Energy, LLC, an independent oil and natural gas company, acquires and develops oil and natural gas properties. The company's properties are located in Rockies, the Mid-Continent, the Hugoton Basin, California, the Permian Basin, Michigan, Illinois, and East Texas in the United States.

The average volume for Linn Energy has been 1,631,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Linn Energy has a market cap of $9.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 6.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Linn Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 7.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $225.70 million or 9.31% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -22.97%.
  • LINN ENERGY 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. 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, LINN ENERGY LLC reported poor results of -$2.78 versus -$1.86 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.63 versus -$2.78).
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.56 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 this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.43, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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, LINN ENERGY LLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and 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.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null

More from Markets

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

Trump Takes Aim at Auto Imports; Markets End Mixed -- ICYMI

Trump Takes Aim at Auto Imports; Markets End Mixed -- ICYMI

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat

Flashback Friday: The Market Movers

Flashback Friday: The Market Movers