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

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."

Northern Tier Energy

Dividend Yield: 7.80%

Northern Tier Energy (NYSE: NTI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

Northern Tier Energy LP, an independent downstream energy company, engages in refining, retail, and pipeline operations in the United States. It operates through two segments, Refining and Retail. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.66.

The average volume for Northern Tier Energy has been 544,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Northern Tier Energy has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 11.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Northern Tier Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP's earnings per share declined by 22.7% 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, NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.60 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.21 versus $2.60).
  • The gross profit margin for NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 5.40%. Regardless of NTI's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 1.67% trails the industry average.
  • In its most recent trading session, NTI 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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Potash Corp of Saskatchewan

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Potash, Nitrogen, and Phosphate. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.03.

The average volume for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has been 3,875,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $27.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 9.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corp of Saskatchewan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its 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 and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 4.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 44.48% is the gross profit margin for POTASH CORP SASK INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 21.39% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.48, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that POT's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.57, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • POT has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 6.74% 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.
  • 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 Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, POTASH CORP SASK INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.

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Hi-Crush Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.30%

Hi-Crush Partners (NYSE: HCLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.30%.

Hi-Crush Partners LP produces and supplies monocrystalline sand in the United States. The monocrystalline sand is a mineral that is used as a proppant to enhance the recovery rates of hydrocarbons from oil and natural gas wells. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.34.

The average volume for Hi-Crush Partners has been 429,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hi-Crush Partners has a market cap of $863.2 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 18.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Hi-Crush Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HCLP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 18.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 104.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HI-CRUSH PARTNERS LP has improved earnings per share by 34.9% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, HI-CRUSH PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.92 versus $2.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.48 versus $2.92).
  • 37.08% is the gross profit margin for HI-CRUSH PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of HCLP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HCLP's net profit margin of 29.12% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • In its most recent trading session, HCLP 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.14 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, HCLP has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.66, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

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