3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: ALDW, STB, WHLR

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."

Alon USA Partners

Dividend Yield: 14.70%

Alon USA Partners (NYSE: ALDW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.70%.

Alon USA Partners, LP refines and markets petroleum products primarily in the South Central and Southwestern regions of the United States. The company owns and operates a crude oil refinery in Big Spring, Texas with crude oil throughput capacity of 70,000 barrels per day. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.71.

The average volume for Alon USA Partners has been 164,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Alon USA Partners has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 12.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alon USA Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The share price of ALON USA PARTNERS LP has not done very well: it is down 6.80% 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.
  • ALON USA PARTNERS LP 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, ALON USA PARTNERS LP reported lower earnings of $2.19 versus $3.74 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 17.8% in earnings ($1.80 versus $2.19).
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 82.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $45.32 million to $7.80 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.43 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company.
  • The gross profit margin for ALON USA PARTNERS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 4.86%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.07% trails that of the industry average.

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