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."

Windstream Holdings

Dividend Yield: 12.20%

Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.20%.

Windstream Holdings, Inc. provides communications and technology solutions in the United States. The company offers managed services and cloud computing services to businesses, as well as broadband, voice, and video services to consumers primarily in rural markets. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.72.

The average volume for Windstream Holdings has been 7,263,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Windstream Holdings has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 1.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Windstream Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and unimpressive growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. When compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 51.23%. Regardless of WIN'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 0.54% trails the industry average.
  • WIN, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.9%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $431.00 million or 3.81% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow WINDSTREAM HOLDINGS INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -23.63%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 18.87 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, WIN has a quick ratio of 0.52, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.

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BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty

Dividend Yield: 13.60%

BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty (NYSE: BPT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.60%.

BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust operates as a grantor trust in the United States. The company holds overriding royalty interest comprising a non-operational interest in minerals in the Prudhoe Bay field located on the North Slope of Alaska. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.76.

The average volume for BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty has been 209,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty has a market cap of $1.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 9.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 40.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • BPT has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.78, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for BP PRUDHOE BAY ROYALTY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. BPT has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BPT's net profit margin of 99.55% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, BP PRUDHOE BAY ROYALTY TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, BPT 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.

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MFA Financial

Dividend Yield: 10.10%

MFA Financial (NYSE: MFA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.10%.

MFA Financial, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), invests in residential agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The company has a P/E ratio of 9.91.

The average volume for MFA Financial has been 2,153,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. MFA Financial has a market cap of $2.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates MFA Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The gross profit margin for MFA FINANCIAL INC is currently very high, coming in at 91.66%. Regardless of MFA's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MFA's net profit margin of 63.18% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • MFA FINANCIAL INC has improved earnings per share by 5.3% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, MFA FINANCIAL INC reported lower earnings of $0.79 versus $0.83 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 11.4% in earnings ($0.70 versus $0.79).
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $62.54 million or 27.18% 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.

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