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."

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a diversified financial institution, provides various financial products and services to individuals and small businesses, and commercial, corporate, and institutional clients in Canada and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.33.

The average volume for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been 244,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has a market cap of $31.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 9.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK is currently very high, coming in at 75.33%. 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 19.26% trails the industry average.
  • CM, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.0%. 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, CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 greatly underperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income has decreased by 2.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $832.00 million to $809.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$9,217.00 million or 413.18% 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.

First Niagara Financial Group

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

First Niagara Financial Group (NASDAQ: FNFG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for First Niagara Bank, N.A. that provides retail and commercial banking, and other financial services to individuals, families, and businesses.

The average volume for First Niagara Financial Group has been 5,171,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. First Niagara Financial Group has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 7.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 First Niagara Financial Group 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, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP is currently very high, coming in at 86.27%. 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 -243.23% is in-line with the industry average.
  • FNFG, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP 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, FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP increased its bottom line by earning $0.75 versus $0.40 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 286.7% in earnings (-$1.40 versus $0.75).
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1266.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $79.14 million to -$923.23 million.
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP'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.

Universal

Dividend Yield: 5.30%

Universal (NYSE: UVV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.30%.

Universal Corporation operates as a leaf tobacco merchant and processor worldwide. It is engaged in procuring, financing, processing, packing, storing, and shipping leaf tobacco for sale to, or for the account of, manufacturers of consumer tobacco products. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.88.

The average volume for Universal has been 381,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Universal has a market cap of $913.9 million and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are down 10.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 Universal as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.53, 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 0.44 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • UNIVERSAL CORP/VA's earnings per share declined by 46.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, UNIVERSAL CORP/VA increased its bottom line by earning $5.25 versus $4.66 in the prior year.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Tobacco industry and the overall market, UNIVERSAL CORP/VA's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 Tobacco industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 40.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $25.44 million to $15.03 million.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null