What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks ATAX, WHF, QRE

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."

America First Multifamily Investors

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

America First Multifamily Investors (NASDAQ: ATAX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

America First Multifamily Investors, L.P. acquires, holds, sells, and deals in a portfolio of mortgage revenue bonds that have been issued to provide construction and/or permanent financing of multifamily residential apartments. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.37.

The average volume for America First Multifamily Investors has been 144,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. America First Multifamily Investors has a market cap of $363.9 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 5.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ATAX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.0%. 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 AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP is currently very high, coming in at 84.09%. Regardless of ATAX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ATAX's net profit margin of 45.80% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP's earnings per share declined by 33.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP increased its bottom line by earning $0.34 versus $0.09 in the prior year.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $1.89 million or 38.07% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP has marginally lower results.
  • 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 27.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $8.32 million to $6.05 million.

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WhiteHorse Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ: WHF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

Whitehorse Finance, LLC is a fund of HIG Capital LLC. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.97.

The average volume for WhiteHorse Finance has been 54,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. WhiteHorse Finance has a market cap of $219.6 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 5.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates WhiteHorse Finance as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 81.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.51 million to $6.37 million.
  • The gross profit margin for WHITEHORSE FINANCE INC is rather high; currently it is at 64.79%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 77.21% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, WHITEHORSE FINANCE INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • WHF has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 7.78% 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$36.94 million or 106.76% 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.

QR Energy

Dividend Yield: 10.70%

QR Energy (NYSE: QRE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

QR Energy, LP, through its subsidiary, QRE Operating, LLC, is engaged in the acquisition, exploitation, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for QR Energy has been 288,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. QR Energy has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates QR Energy 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 increase in stock price during the past year. 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 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.9%. 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 increased to $42.17 million or 24.31% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, QR ENERGY LP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 17.38%.
  • 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 debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.23 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, QRE maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.87, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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, QR ENERGY LP'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.

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