What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks EFC, EVEP, RSO

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."

Ellington Financial

Dividend Yield: 12.60%

Ellington Financial (NYSE: EFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.60%.

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 9.34.

The average volume for Ellington Financial has been 83,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ellington Financial has a market cap of $622.6 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ellington Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EFC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 80.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $11.60 million to $20.95 million.
  • 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.
  • ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings 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 13.6% in earnings ($2.99 versus $3.46).
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of 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.

EV Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EVEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

EV Energy Partners, L.P. is engaged in the acquisition, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Exploration and Production, and Midstream.

The average volume for EV Energy Partners has been 187,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. EV Energy Partners has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 10.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates EV Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 86.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$46.58 million to -$6.25 million.
  • EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP reported poor results of -$1.69 versus -$0.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.03 versus -$1.69).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.01 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, EVEP's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.17, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $32.63 million or 21.15% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

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

Resource Capital

Dividend Yield: 14.80%

Resource Capital (NYSE: RSO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.80%.

Resource Capital Corp., a diversified real estate investment trust, primarily focuses on originating, holding, and managing commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate-related debt and equity investments in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.50.

The average volume for Resource Capital has been 871,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Resource Capital has a market cap of $711.2 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Resource Capital as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 37.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • RESOURCE CAPITAL CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, RESOURCE CAPITAL CORP reported lower earnings of $0.33 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.51 versus $0.33).
  • RSO has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 11.24% 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.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, RESOURCE CAPITAL CORP's return on equity is below 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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