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: 4.50%

Valley National Bancorp (NYSE: VLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

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 operates in four segments: Commercial Lending, Consumer Lending, Investment Management, and Corporate and Other Adjustments. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.45.

The average volume for Valley National Bancorp has been 1,761,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Valley National Bancorp has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 1.1% 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 a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • VLY, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.2%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 74.67%. Regardless of VLY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VLY's net profit margin of 13.75% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP's earnings per share declined by 45.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP reported lower earnings of $0.57 versus $0.67 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.61 versus $0.57).
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, VLY 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. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

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Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 17.80%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 17.80%.

Legacy Reserves LP owns and operates oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 981,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $946.9 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 15.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • LGCY's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 20.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 94.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for LEGACY RESERVES LP is rather high; currently it is at 66.93%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 31.02% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • LEGACY RESERVES LP 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, LEGACY RESERVES LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.62 versus $1.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.65 versus -$0.62).
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.69 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, LGCY maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.76, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, LEGACY RESERVES LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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New York Mortgage

Dividend Yield: 13.90%

New York Mortgage (NASDAQ: NYMT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.90%.

New York Mortgage Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), is engaged in acquiring, investing in, financing, and managing mortgage-related and financial assets in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.52.

The average volume for New York Mortgage has been 1,360,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. New York Mortgage has a market cap of $705.5 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates New York Mortgage as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NYMT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 54.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC 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, NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC reported lower earnings of $1.11 versus $1.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.30 versus $1.11).
  • In its most recent trading session, NYMT 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. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $12.16 million or 28.20% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -55.78%.

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