What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks GES, HLSS, PBF

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."

Guess

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Guess (NYSE: GES) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Guess , Inc. designs, markets, distributes, and licenses lifestyle collections of contemporary apparel and accessories for men, women, and children that reflect the American lifestyle and European fashion sensibilities. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.62.

The average volume for Guess has been 1,792,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Guess has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the retail industry. Shares are down 12.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Guess as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GES's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.01 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, GES has a quick ratio of 2.32, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 38.06% is the gross profit margin for GUESS INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of GES's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, GES's net profit margin of 8.04% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Specialty Retail industry and the overall market, GUESS INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $158.71 million or 16.75% 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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Home Loan Servicing Solutions

Dividend Yield: 12.60%

Home Loan Servicing Solutions (NASDAQ: HLSS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.60%.

Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, focuses on acquiring assets related to residential mortgages. The company was founded in 2010 and is based in George Town, the Cayman Islands. As of April 6, 2015, Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.64.

The average volume for Home Loan Servicing Solutions has been 3,423,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Home Loan Servicing Solutions has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 11.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Home Loan Servicing Solutions 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 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 8.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 47.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS is currently very high, coming in at 94.26%. Regardless of HLSS's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HLSS's net profit margin of 52.10% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS 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, HOME LOAN SERVICING SOLTNS increased its bottom line by earning $3.05 versus $2.22 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 26.6% in earnings ($2.24 versus $3.05).
  • HLSS has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 22.92% 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.

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PBF Energy

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

PBF Energy (NYSE: PBF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

PBF Energy Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the refining and supply of petroleum products.

The average volume for PBF Energy has been 1,654,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. PBF Energy has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 8.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates PBF Energy as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. 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:
  • Despite the weak revenue results, PBF has outperformed against the industry average of 20.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • PBF ENERGY INC 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. 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, PBF ENERGY INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.03 versus $1.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.75 versus -$0.03).
  • In its most recent trading session, PBF 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. 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.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, PBF ENERGY INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $103.36 million or 30.51% 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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