3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: SPH, NRP, RNO

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: 7.80%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

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 33.20.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 175,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Suburban Propane Partners has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 5.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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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 9.0%. 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 27.52%.
  • 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 ($1.96 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.
  • In its most recent trading session, SPH has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. 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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Natural Resources Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

Natural Resources Partners (NYSE: NRP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

Natural Resource Partners L.P., through its subsidiaries, owns, manages, and leases mineral properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.37.

The average volume for Natural Resources Partners has been 372,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Natural Resources Partners has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 18.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Natural Resources Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. 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 generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NRP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.8%. 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 NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is currently very high, coming in at 81.79%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NRP's net profit margin of 38.69% 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.80 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, NRP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.93, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $61.01 million or 23.48% 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.

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Rhino Resource Partners

Dividend Yield: 13.00%

Rhino Resource Partners (NYSE: RNO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.00%.

Rhino Resource Partners LP, together with its subsidiaries, produces, processes, and sells various grades of steam and metallurgical coal from surface and underground mines in the United States.

The average volume for Rhino Resource Partners has been 40,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Rhino Resource Partners has a market cap of $227.7 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 19.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Rhino Resource Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • RNO's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.08 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that RNO's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.61, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • 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.
  • RNO, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 2.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for RHINO RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is rather low; currently it is at 17.19%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -12.30% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $1.85 million or 89.99% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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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