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 "Sell."

USA Compression Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.50%

USA Compression Partners (NYSE: USAC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.50%.

USA Compression Partners, LP provides natural gas compression services under term contracts with customers in the oil and gas industry in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.48.

The average volume for USA Compression Partners has been 121,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. USA Compression Partners has a market cap of $624.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 17.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates USA Compression Partners as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • USAC's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 26.98%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, USAC is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP increased its bottom line by earning $0.58 versus $0.32 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 8.6% in earnings ($0.53 versus $0.58).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income increased by 91.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $4.44 million to $8.50 million.
  • The gross profit margin for USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP is rather high; currently it is at 69.03%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 13.93% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $31.29 million or 18.02% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 3.92%.

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KNOT Offshore Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

KNOT Offshore Partners (NYSE: KNOP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

KNOT Offshore Partners LP owns and operates shuttle tankers under long-term charters. The company provides crude oil loading, transportation, and storage services under time charters and bareboat charters. As of April 14, 2014, it had a fleet of five shuttle tankers. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.30.

The average volume for KNOT Offshore Partners has been 59,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. KNOT Offshore Partners has a market cap of $297.3 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates KNOT Offshore Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.46 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.
  • The share price of KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP has not done very well: it is down 19.93% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. 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.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 25.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $7.90 million to $5.91 million.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP's earnings per share declined by 43.5% 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, KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.34 versus $0.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.81 versus $1.34).

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Southcross Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 12.50%

Southcross Energy Partners (NYSE: SXE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.50%.

Southcross Energy Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, provides natural gas gathering, processing, treating, compression, and transportation services in the United States. It also offers natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionation and transportation services.

The average volume for Southcross Energy Partners has been 154,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Southcross Energy Partners has a market cap of $305.4 million and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 21.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Southcross Energy Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 508.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$4.07 million to -$24.78 million.
  • The gross profit margin for SOUTHCROSS ENERGY PRTNRS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 4.55%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -11.71% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$2.40 million or 163.21% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • SOUTHCROSS ENERGY PRTNRS LP's earnings have gone downhill when comparing its most recently reported quarter with the same quarter a year earlier. 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, SOUTHCROSS ENERGY PRTNRS LP continued to lose money by earning -$0.72 versus -$1.17 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 20.8% in earnings (-$0.87 versus -$0.72).
  • This stock's share value has moved by only 28.21% over the past year. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

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