3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: EDUC, SMTP, NTLS

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."

Educational Development

Dividend Yield: 8.40%

Educational Development (NASDAQ: EDUC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.40%.

Educational Development Corporation operates as a trade publisher of the line of children's books in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.55.

The average volume for Educational Development has been 5,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Educational Development has a market cap of $15.1 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 23.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Educational Development as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 61.24%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.44% is above that of the industry average.
  • EDUC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.04 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.99 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • 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 Distributors industry and the overall market, EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP'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.

SMTP

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

SMTP (NASDAQ: SMTP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

SMTP, Inc. provides Internet-based services to facilitate email delivery worldwide. It offers services to enable businesses of various scales to outsource the sending of outbound emails. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.20.

The average volume for SMTP has been 21,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. SMTP has a market cap of $31.2 million and is part of the internet industry. Shares are up 333.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates SMTP as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SMTP INC has improved earnings per share by 20.0% 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. During the past fiscal year, SMTP INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.42 versus $0.35 in the prior year.
  • SMTP's revenue growth trails the industry average of 20.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. 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 net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Internet Software & Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 10.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.31 million to $0.34 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 Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, SMTP INC's return on equity significantly exceeds 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.

NTELOS Holdings

Dividend Yield: 12.30%

NTELOS Holdings (NASDAQ: NTLS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.30%.

NTELOS Holdings Corp., through its subsidiaries, provides digital wireless communications services to consumers and businesses in Virginia and West Virginia, as well as parts of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.13.

The average volume for NTELOS Holdings has been 473,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. NTELOS Holdings has a market cap of $295.2 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 36.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NTELOS Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NTLS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.7%. 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.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Wireless Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP 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. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.12 versus $0.87 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 6.3% in earnings ($1.05 versus $1.12).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $6.26 million or 68.66% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • In its most recent trading session, NTLS has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

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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