3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: AGNC, SPLS, CQP

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."

American Capital Agency

Dividend Yield: 11.10%

American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.10%.

American Capital Agency Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). The company has a P/E ratio of 10.52.

The average volume for American Capital Agency has been 4,325,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Agency has a market cap of $8.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 21.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 27.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP is currently very high, coming in at 90.79%. Regardless of AGNC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, AGNC's net profit margin of -37.10% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP reported lower earnings of $3.17 versus $4.40 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 48.9% in earnings ($1.62 versus $3.17).
  • 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 161.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $231.00 million to -$141.00 million.

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

Staples

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates office products superstores. It operates in three segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial, and International Operations. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.36.

The average volume for Staples has been 11,649,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Staples has a market cap of $7.1 billion and is part of the specialty retail industry. Shares are down 31.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Staples as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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:
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $359.85 million or 3.53% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -8.53%.
  • SPLS's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.19 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 0.74 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • 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 Specialty Retail industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 43.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $169.93 million to $96.21 million.
  • The gross profit margin for STAPLES INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.94%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.70% trails that of the industry average.

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

Cheniere Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

Cheniere Energy Partners (AMEX: CQP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P., through its subsidiary, Sabine Pass LNG, L.P., owns and operates the Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal located on the Sabine Pass deep water shipping channel, Louisiana.

The average volume for Cheniere Energy Partners has been 274,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Cheniere Energy Partners has a market cap of $1.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 13.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cheniere Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CQP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. 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 gross profit margin for CHENIERE ENERGY PARTNERS LP is currently very high, coming in at 79.69%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -103.73% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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 against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 34.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$51.73 million to -$69.73 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.46 million or 105.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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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