3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: MMLP, WHF, PGH

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."

Martin Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

Martin Midstream Partners (NASDAQ: MMLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

Martin Midstream Partners L.P. collects, transports, stores, and markets petroleum products and by-products in the United States Gulf Coast region.

The average volume for Martin Midstream Partners has been 129,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Martin Midstream Partners has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 10.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Martin Midstream Partners as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.0%. 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.
  • MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.49 versus $1.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.39 versus -$0.49).
  • The share price of MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP has not done very well: it is down 13.74% 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. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$15.58 million or 321.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 110.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $9.08 million to -$0.97 million.

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WhiteHorse Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.80%

WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ: WHF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.80%.

Whitehorse Finance, LLC is a business development company. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.16.

The average volume for WhiteHorse Finance has been 50,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. WhiteHorse Finance has a market cap of $217.0 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 4.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates WhiteHorse Finance as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 58.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.17 million to $5.02 million.
  • The gross profit margin for WHITEHORSE FINANCE INC is rather high; currently it is at 59.65%. Regardless of WHF's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, WHF's net profit margin of 55.63% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, WHITEHORSE FINANCE INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, WHF 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. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$55.69 million or 465.05% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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Pengrowth Energy

Dividend Yield: 7.30%

Pengrowth Energy (NYSE: PGH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.30%.

Pengrowth Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, acquires, explores for, develops, and produces oil and natural gas reserves in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia in Canada.

The average volume for Pengrowth Energy has been 1,227,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Pengrowth Energy has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.4% 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 Pengrowth Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 83.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$53.45 million to -$8.80 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.48, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.48 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The gross profit margin for PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP is rather high; currently it is at 54.66%. Regardless of PGH's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PGH's net profit margin of -3.27% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $109.40 million or 47.60% 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.
  • 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, PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP'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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