What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks ATAX, RNO, STON

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."

America First Multifamily Investors

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

America First Multifamily Investors (NASDAQ: ATAX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

America First Multifamily Investors, L.P. acquires, holds, sells, and deals in a portfolio of mortgage revenue bonds that have been issued to provide construction and/or permanent financing of multifamily residential apartments. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.12.

The average volume for America First Multifamily Investors has been 96,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. America First Multifamily Investors has a market cap of $363.3 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates America First Multifamily Investors as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, 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:
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP is currently very high, coming in at 79.83%. Regardless of ATAX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ATAX's net profit margin of 32.50% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 60.36% to $4.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 60.36%, AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 118.47%.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average. The net income has decreased by 7.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $3.96 million to $3.66 million.
  • The share price of AMERICA FIRST MULTIFAMILY-LP has not done very well: it is down 13.78% 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.

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

Rhino Resource Partners

Dividend Yield: 13.30%

Rhino Resource Partners (NYSE: RNO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.30%.

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 39,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Rhino Resource Partners has a market cap of $223.5 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 17.8% 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 3.5%. 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 17.15%. 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 $1.82 million or 90.15% 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.

Stonemor Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.60%

Stonemor Partners (NYSE: STON) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.60%.

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 138,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Stonemor Partners has a market cap of $735.1 million and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are down 0.6% 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 2.2%. 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 -15.56%.
  • 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.

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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