3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: LPHI, DSWL, ACRE

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."

Life Partners Holdings

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

Life Partners Holdings (NASDAQ: LPHI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

Life Partners Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, Life Partners, Inc., operates in the secondary market for life insurance worldwide. It facilitates the sale of life settlements between sellers and purchasers, but does not take possession or control of the policies.

The average volume for Life Partners Holdings has been 20,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Life Partners Holdings has a market cap of $45.5 million and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 36% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Life Partners Holdings as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

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 Diversified Financial Services industry. The net income has decreased by 24.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from -$0.75 million to -$0.94 million.
  • 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 Diversified Financial Services industry and the overall market, LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.31 million or 129.82% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, LPHI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 17.89% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC's earnings per share declined by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable Earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. During the past fiscal year, LIFE PARTNERS HOLDINGS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.16 versus -$0.17 in the prior year.

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

Deswell Industries

Dividend Yield: 9.20%

Deswell Industries (NASDAQ: DSWL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.20%.

Deswell Industries, Inc. engages in the manufacture and sale of injection-molded plastic parts and components, electronic products and subassemblies, and metallic molds and accessory parts for original equipment manufacturers and contract manufacturers.

The average volume for Deswell Industries has been 27,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Deswell Industries has a market cap of $35.0 million and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. Shares are down 4.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Deswell Industries as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DESWELL INDUSTRIES 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 suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, DESWELL INDUSTRIES INC reported poor results of -$0.12 versus -$0.09 in the prior year.
  • 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 Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 543.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.22 million to -$1.42 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 Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components industry and the overall market, DESWELL INDUSTRIES INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for DESWELL INDUSTRIES INC is rather low; currently it is at 18.76%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -13.25% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.22 million or 103.83% 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.

Ares Commercial Real Estate

Dividend Yield: 7.90%

Ares Commercial Real Estate (NYSE: ACRE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.90%.

Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, a specialty finance company, is engaged in principal lending and mortgage banking of commercial real estate (CRE) investments. The company operates in two segments: Principal Lending and Mortgage Banking. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.82.

The average volume for Ares Commercial Real Estate has been 204,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ares Commercial Real Estate has a market cap of $360.2 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ares Commercial Real Estate as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ACRE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 21.19% 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.
  • 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, ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE is rather high; currently it is at 51.21%. Regardless of ACRE's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ACRE's net profit margin of 23.97% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 526.91% to $7.69 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ARES COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 29.99%.

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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