What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks MAA, POT, MEMP

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."

Mid-America Apartment Communities

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Mid-America Apartment Communities (NYSE: MAA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It is engaged in acquisition, redevelopment, new development, property management, and disposition of multifamily apartment communities. The company has a P/E ratio of 171.40.

The average volume for Mid-America Apartment Communities has been 423,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mid-America Apartment Communities has a market cap of $5.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 20.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Mid-America Apartment Communities as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. 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:
  • MAA's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 88.4%. 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.
  • MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC has improved earnings per share by 16.7% 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, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC reported lower earnings of $0.99 versus $1.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.61 versus $0.99).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.33%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 12.72% significantly trails the industry average.

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

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products worldwide. It mines and produces potash, which is primarily used as fertilizer. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.18.

The average volume for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has been 3,640,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $28.5 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 4.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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 Potash Corp of Saskatchewan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 45.45% is the gross profit margin for POTASH CORP SASK INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of POT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, POT's net profit margin of 24.94% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.46, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that POT's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.66, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • POT, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Chemicals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 26.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $643.00 million to $472.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $788.00 million or 34.44% 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.

Memorial Production Partners

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

Memorial Production Partners (NASDAQ: MEMP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

Memorial Production Partners LP, through its subsidiary, is engaged in the acquisition, development, exploitation, and production of oil and natural gas properties.

The average volume for Memorial Production Partners has been 767,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Memorial Production Partners has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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 Memorial Production Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 36.7%. 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 55.81% to $48.03 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MEMORIAL PRODUCTION PRTRS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -5.22%.
  • 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.16 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.44, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MEMORIAL PRODUCTION PRTRS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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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