What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks SFL, HLSS, UIL

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."

Ship Finance International

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

Ship Finance International (NYSE: SFL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

Ship Finance International Limited owns and operates vessels and offshore related assets in Bermuda, Cyprus, Malta, Liberia, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Marshall Islands. It is also involved in the charter, purchase, and sale of assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.57.

The average volume for Ship Finance International has been 434,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ship Finance International has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 18.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ship Finance International as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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.
  • SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD has improved earnings per share by 5.3% 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, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD reported lower earnings of $1.01 versus $2.26 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.35 versus $1.01).
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $37.06 million or 45.49% 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.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions

Dividend Yield: 8.80%

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ: HLSS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.80%.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., through its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition of mortgage servicing assets. Its mortgage servicing assets consists of servicing advances, mortgage servicing rights, rights to mortgage servicing rights, and other related assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.91.

The average volume for Home Loan Servicing Solutions has been 647,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Home Loan Servicing Solutions has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Home Loan Servicing Solutions as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. 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:
  • HLSS's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 95.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS increased its bottom line by earning $1.97 versus $1.23 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.53 versus $1.97).
  • 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • HLSS has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 7.94% 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.

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

UIL Holdings

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

UIL Holdings (NYSE: UIL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

UIL Holdings Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates in the regulated utility businesses. The company operates in the Electric Distribution, Electric Transmission, and Gas Distribution segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.74.

The average volume for UIL Holdings has been 311,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. UIL Holdings has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 UIL Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.9%. 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 increased to $124.37 million or 21.91% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.94%.
  • UIL HOLDINGS CORP 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 reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, UIL HOLDINGS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.18 versus $2.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.29 versus $2.18).
  • The gross profit margin for UIL HOLDINGS CORP is rather low; currently it is at 21.88%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 2.77% trails that of the industry average.
  • In its most recent trading session, UIL 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, 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.

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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