What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks ATAI, CCG, EFC

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: 9.00%

ATA (NASDAQ: ATAI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.00%.

ATA Inc. provides computer-based testing services in the People's Republic of China. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.45.

The average volume for ATA has been 15,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. ATA has a market cap of $100.2 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and unimpressive growth in net income.

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 4.97, 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.
  • The share price of ATA INC -ADS has not done very well: it is down 6.67% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • 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.

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

Campus Crest Communities

Dividend Yield: 7.40%

Campus Crest Communities (NYSE: CCG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.40%.

Campus Crest Communities, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the ownership, development, building, and management of student housing properties under the Grove brand name in the United States.

The average volume for Campus Crest Communities has been 422,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Campus Crest Communities has a market cap of $575.3 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Campus Crest Communities as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its expanding profit margins. At the same time, however, 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:
  • CCG, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.1%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 25.77%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 400.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The gross profit margin for CAMPUS CREST COMMUNITIES INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 12.88%. Regardless of CCG's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CCG's net profit margin of 3.28% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • 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 50.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.16 million to $1.06 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CAMPUS CREST COMMUNITIES INC'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.

Ellington Financial

Dividend Yield: 12.90%

Ellington Financial (NYSE: EFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.90%.

Ellington Financial LLC, a specialty finance company, acquires and manages mortgage-related assets, including residential mortgage backed securities backed by prime jumbo, Alt-A, manufactured housing and subprime residential mortgage loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.72.

The average volume for Ellington Financial has been 86,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ellington Financial has a market cap of $605.3 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 5.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ellington Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.1%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC is currently very high, coming in at 77.73%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 105.29% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC 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 year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC reported lower earnings of $3.46 versus $5.32 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 13.9% in earnings ($2.98 versus $3.46).
  • 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 43.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $40.34 million to $22.64 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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