3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks: NKA, WHF, TICC

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."

Niska Gas Storage Partners

Dividend Yield: 11.90%

Niska Gas Storage Partners (NYSE: NKA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.90%.

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America.

The average volume for Niska Gas Storage Partners has been 108,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Niska Gas Storage Partners has a market cap of $424.5 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 22.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Niska Gas Storage Partners 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 deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS is rather high; currently it is at 62.03%. 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 -34.25% is in-line with the industry average.
  • NKA, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS 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. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS continued to lose money by earning -$0.24 versus -$0.63 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 125.0% in earnings (-$0.54 versus -$0.24).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.50 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.34, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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, NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS'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.

WhiteHorse Finance

Dividend Yield: 11.20%

WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ: WHF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.20%.

Whitehorse Finance, LLC is a business development company. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.99.

The average volume for WhiteHorse Finance has been 29,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. WhiteHorse Finance has a market cap of $189.2 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 16.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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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, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. 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.
  • Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, WHITEHORSE FINANCE INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • 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.
  • WHF has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.20% from its price level of one year ago. 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.

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

TICC Capital

Dividend Yield: 13.60%

TICC Capital (NASDAQ: TICC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.60%.

TICC Capital Corp., a business development company, operates as a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The firm invests in both public and private companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.78.

The average volume for TICC Capital has been 441,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. TICC Capital has a market cap of $515.9 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 16.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 801.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.46 million to $13.14 million.
  • TICC CAPITAL CORP 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, TICC CAPITAL CORP reported lower earnings of $1.11 versus $1.77 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.13 versus $1.11).
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TICC CAPITAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to -$35.97 million or 14.64% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 14.64%, TICC CAPITAL CORP is still significantly exceeding the industry average of -127.80%.

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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