3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: CLF, MTGE, SDLP

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 "Sell."

Cliffs Natural Resources

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a mining and natural resources company, produces iron ore and metallurgical coal. The company has a P/E ratio of 45.61.

The average volume for Cliffs Natural Resources has been 5,862,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Cliffs Natural Resources has a market cap of $2.2 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 42.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Cliffs Natural Resources as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 34.36%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 101.21% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.
  • 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 Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 92.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $146.00 million to $10.90 million.
  • The gross profit margin for CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC is rather low; currently it is at 21.56%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.99% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$41.90 million or 110.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • CLF's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that CLF's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.57 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.

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American Capital Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 13.10%

American Capital Mortgage Investment (NASDAQ: MTGE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.10%.

American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.87.

The average volume for American Capital Mortgage Investment has been 438,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 13.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates American Capital Mortgage Investment as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $40.11 million or 71.85% 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 return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, MTGE 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 our attention to the future direction of the stock, we do not believe this stock offers ample reward opportunity to compensate for the risks, despite the fact that it rose over the past year.
  • AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP swung to a loss, reporting -$1.58 versus $8.40 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.65 versus -$1.58).
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP is currently very high, coming in at 86.75%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MTGE's net profit margin of 54.10% significantly outperformed against the industry.

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Seadrill Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.80%

Seadrill Partners (NYSE: SDLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.80%.

Seadrill Partners LLC owns, operates, and acquires offshore drilling units. The company operates semi-submersible drilling rigs, tender rings, and drill ships. It primarily serves various oil and gas companies. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.82.

The average volume for Seadrill Partners has been 345,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Seadrill Partners has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Seadrill Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 36.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $31.10 million to $19.80 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 4.53 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, SDLP's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.02, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, we do not believe this stock offers ample reward opportunity to compensate for the risks, despite the fact that it rose over the past year.
  • SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC 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, SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC increased its bottom line by earning $2.29 versus $1.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.51 versus $2.29).
  • The gross profit margin for SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC is rather high; currently it is at 64.18%. 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 7.19% 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.

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