3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: STON, APSA, GARS

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."

Stonemor Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.80%

Stonemor Partners (NYSE: STON) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.80%.

StoneMor Partners L.P., together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates cemeteries in the United States. It operates through Cemetery Operations-Southeast, Cemetery Operations-Northeast, Cemetery Operations-West, and Funeral Homes segments.

The average volume for Stonemor Partners has been 162,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Stonemor Partners has a market cap of $718.0 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are down 2.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Stonemor Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for STONEMOR PARTNERS LP is rather high; currently it is at 51.44%. 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 -0.16% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has remained constant at $9.69 million with no significant change when compared to the same quarter last year. Along with maintaining stable cash flow from operations, the firm exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -15.43%.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Consumer Services industry and the overall market, STONEMOR PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.04 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, STON has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.72, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

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Alto Palermo

Dividend Yield: 8.90%

Alto Palermo (NASDAQ: APSA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.90%.

Alto Palermo S.A. engages in the ownership, acquisition, development, leasing, management, and operation of shopping centers, as well as residential and commercial complexes in Argentina. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.62.

The average volume for Alto Palermo has been 1,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Alto Palermo has a market cap of $645.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 2.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Alto Palermo as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, 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 deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for ALTO PALERMO SA is rather high; currently it is at 62.40%. 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 -1.87% is in-line with the industry average.
  • 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.
  • ALTO PALERMO SA 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. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ALTO PALERMO SA increased its bottom line by earning $1.45 versus $1.19 in the prior year.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $11.09 million or 65.22% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow ALTO PALERMO SA is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -91.62%.
  • 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 Real Estate Management & Development industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 104.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $13.99 million to -$0.58 million.

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Garrison Capital

Dividend Yield: 9.50%

Garrison Capital (NASDAQ: GARS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.50%.

Garrison Capital Inc. is a business development company specializing in investments primarily in the debt and equity of middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.38.

The average volume for Garrison Capital has been 78,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Garrison Capital has a market cap of $246.0 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 5.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Garrison Capital 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 good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GARS's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 68.8%. 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 33.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $6.80 million to $9.06 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, GARRISON CAPITAL INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • GARRISON CAPITAL INC has improved earnings per share by 31.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GARRISON CAPITAL INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.42 versus $0.28 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 11.6% in earnings ($1.26 versus $1.42).
  • In its most recent trading session, GARS 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

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