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."

Valley National Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Valley National Bancorp (NYSE: VLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Valley National Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for the Valley National Bank that provides commercial, retail, and trust and investment services. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.28.

The average volume for Valley National Bancorp has been 1,879,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Valley National Bancorp has a market cap of $1.9 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 8.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Valley National Bancorp as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 79.91%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 17.40% is above that of the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.5%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP's earnings per share declined by 11.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP reported lower earnings of $0.67 versus $0.74 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 9.7% in earnings ($0.61 versus $0.67).
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry average. The net income has decreased by 13.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $33.92 million to $29.52 million.

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Energy XXI

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Energy XXI (NASDAQ: EXXI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Energy XXI (Bermuda) Limited is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and operation of oil and natural gas properties onshore in Louisiana and Texas, and on the Gulf of Mexico. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.36.

The average volume for Energy XXI has been 4,590,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Energy XXI has a market cap of $622.3 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 75.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Energy XXI as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels 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:
  • EXXI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.1%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for ENERGY XXI (BERMUDA) is rather high; currently it is at 66.19%. Regardless of EXXI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -0.55% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $99.54 million or 46.65% 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.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 73.83%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 108.33% 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.

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Cenovus Energy

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Cenovus Energy (NYSE: CVE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Cenovus Energy Inc., an integrated oil company, together with its subsidiaries, develops, produces, and markets crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in Canada with refining operations in Illinois and Texas, the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.91.

The average volume for Cenovus Energy has been 1,104,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Cenovus Energy has a market cap of $17.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 18.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Cenovus Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.50, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.80 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The gross profit margin for CENOVUS ENERGY INC is rather low; currently it is at 24.94%. Regardless of CVE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CVE's net profit margin of 11.34% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • CVE has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 21.59% from its price level of one year ago. 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.

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