3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: SPH, ATAI, UAN

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."

Suburban Propane Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P., through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the retail marketing and distribution of propane, fuel oil, and refined fuels. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.54.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 172,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Suburban Propane Partners has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 6.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Suburban Propane Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.2%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 87.32% to $124.58 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -11.18%.
  • SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP's earnings per share declined by 27.3% 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, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.44 versus $0.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.98 versus $1.44).
  • The gross profit margin for SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 7.63%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -19.85% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • The share price of SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP has not done very well: it is down 5.15% 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, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

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ATA

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

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

ATA Inc. provides computer-based testing services in the People's Republic of China. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.70.

The average volume for ATA has been 17,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. ATA has a market cap of $109.2 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 18.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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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 8.60% 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.

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CVR Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

CVR Partners, LP is engaged in the production, distribution, and marketing of nitrogen fertilizers in the United States. Its nitrogen fertilizer products include ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN). The company has a P/E ratio of 14.03.

The average volume for CVR Partners has been 183,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. CVR Partners has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates CVR Partners 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, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • UAN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.30 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.93, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $24.35 million or 42.10% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CVR PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -22.75%.
  • 39.97% is the gross profit margin for CVR PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, UAN's net profit margin of 22.18% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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 Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CVR PARTNERS LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of 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 Chemicals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 51.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $35.44 million to $17.13 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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