3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: VIV, HIW, ARCP

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."

Telefonica Brasil

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Telefonica Brasil (NYSE: VIV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Telefonica Brasil S.A. provides fixed-line telecommunications services to residential and commercial customers in Brazil. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.48.

The average volume for Telefonica Brasil has been 1,606,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Telefonica Brasil has a market cap of $23.0 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 6.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Telefonica Brasil as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, 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 feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for TELEFONICA BRASIL SA is rather high; currently it is at 61.79%. 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 7.67% trails the industry average.
  • VIV's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.20 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 0.82 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, TELEFONICA BRASIL SA's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $563.62 million or 48.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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Highwoods Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Highwoods Properties (NYSE: HIW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Highwoods Properties, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The trust engages in leasing, management, development, construction, and other customer-related services for its properties and for third parties. It invests in the real estate markets of United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 61.44.

The average volume for Highwoods Properties has been 632,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Highwoods Properties has a market cap of $3.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 16.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Highwoods Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and unimpressive growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HIW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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 gross profit margin for HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC is rather low; currently it is at 23.06%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 8.51% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $31.38 million or 25.48% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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American Realty Capital Properties

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

American Realty Capital Properties (NASDAQ: ARCP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. owns and acquires single tenant, freestanding commercial real estate that is net leased on a medium-term basis, primarily to investment grade credit rated and other creditworthy tenants. The company principally invests in retail and office properties.

The average volume for American Realty Capital Properties has been 13,772,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Realty Capital Properties has a market cap of $9.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 2.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Realty Capital Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ARCP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 647.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY INC has improved earnings per share by 27.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY INC reported poor results of -$2.30 versus -$0.47 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$1.87 versus -$2.30).
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, AMERICAN RLTY CAP PPTY 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 -$106.13 million or 1466.66% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • 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 118.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$141.16 million to -$308.68 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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