What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks ATAI, NGPC, APSA

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."

ATA

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

ATA (NASDAQ: ATAI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

ATA Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides computer-based testing services in the People's Republic of China. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.27.

The average volume for ATA has been 20,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. ATA has a market cap of $107.4 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 18.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates ATA as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's net income has been quite unimpressive.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ATAI has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.96, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for ATA INC -ADS is rather high; currently it is at 58.58%. 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 -29.03% is in-line with the industry average.
  • ATA INC -ADS 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 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, ATA INC -ADS increased its bottom line by earning $0.19 versus $0.16 in the prior year.
  • 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 Diversified Consumer Services industry and the overall market, ATA INC -ADS's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 Consumer Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 139.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.97 million to -$2.33 million.

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