3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: CTL, ERF, PEI

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."

CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

CenturyLink, Inc. operates as an integrated telecommunications company in the United States. The company operates through four segments: Consumer, Business, Wholesale, and Data Hosting.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 5,502,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $21.2 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 14.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.6%. 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 gross profit margin for CENTURYLINK INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.45%. Regardless of CTL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 4.47% trails the industry average.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.25, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry.
  • 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 Telecommunication Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 31.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $298.00 million to $203.00 million.
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, CENTURYLINK INC'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.

Enerplus

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Enerplus (NYSE: ERF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Enerplus Corporation, together with subsidiaries, is engaged in the exploration and development of crude oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 95.26.

The average volume for Enerplus has been 535,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enerplus has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 16% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enerplus as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 78.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$158.71 million to -$33.43 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.53, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.35 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ENERPLUS CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 78.75% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 55.39% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, however, we cannot assume that the stock's past performance is going to drive future results. Quite to the contrary, its sharp appreciation over the last year is one of the factors that should prompt investors to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

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

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment (NYSE: PEI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust. The firm manages owns, manages, develops, acquires, and leases mall and power and strip centers primarily in the Eastern United States.

The average volume for Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment has been 765,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PENNSYLVANIA RE INVS TRUST has improved earnings per share by 14.3% 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, PENNSYLVANIA RE INVS TRUST continued to lose money by earning -$0.57 versus -$0.91 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.14 versus -$0.57).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.4%. 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 PENNSYLVANIA RE INVS TRUST is currently extremely low, coming in at 10.57%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -7.24% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • 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 132.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $24.80 million to -$8.10 million.

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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