What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks DRI, MFA, LINE

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."

Darden Restaurants

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates full service restaurants in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.37.

The average volume for Darden Restaurants has been 1,599,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Darden Restaurants has a market cap of $6.3 billion and is part of the leisure industry. Shares are down 12.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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 Darden Restaurants as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DRI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.6%. 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.
  • DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC's earnings per share declined by 39.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC reported lower earnings of $1.38 versus $1.80 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.23 versus $1.38).
  • 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 Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below 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 Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 35.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $133.10 million to $86.50 million.

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

If you liked this article you might like

Eating McDonald's Stock Might Make You Sick

Investors in Restaurant Stocks Still Need Strong Stomachs

Olive Garden Takes Its Never Ending Pasta Pass to a Whole New $200 Level

Hurricane Irma Is Causing Destruction to Restaurant Stocks

Did Applebee's Ever Have a Shot With Millennials?