What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks BTE, APAM, EVEP

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 "Sell."

Baytex Energy

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Baytex Energy (NYSE: BTE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Baytex Energy Corp., an oil and gas company, engages in the acquisition, development, exploitation, and production of oil and natural gas in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and the United States. The company offers heavy oil, light oil, condensate, and natural gas liquids.

The average volume for Baytex Energy has been 1,102,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Baytex Energy has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 17.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Baytex Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BAYTEX ENERGY CORP 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. During the past fiscal year, BAYTEX ENERGY CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.65 versus $1.32 in the prior year.
  • 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 1260.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $31.17 million to -$361.82 million.
  • 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, BAYTEX ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 53.94%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 964.00% 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 debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.82, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.44 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

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Artisan Partners Asset Management

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Artisan Partners Asset Management (NYSE: APAM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc is publicly owned investment manager. It provides its services to pension and profit sharing plans, trusts, endowments, foundations, charitable organizations, government entities, private funds and non-U.S. funds, as well as mutual funds, non-U.S.

The average volume for Artisan Partners Asset Management has been 335,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Artisan Partners Asset Management has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Artisan Partners Asset Management as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • APAM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.45% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • The gross profit margin for ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.79%. Regardless of APAM's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, APAM's net profit margin of 9.57% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT continued to lose money by earning -$0.72 versus -$2.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus -$0.72).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 125.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.64 million to $19.50 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 4.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.

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EV Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 11.50%

EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EVEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.50%.

EV Energy Partners, L.P. engages in the acquisition, development, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Exploration and Production, and Midstream. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.72.

The average volume for EV Energy Partners has been 589,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. EV Energy Partners has a market cap of $846.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 10% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates EV Energy Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EVEP'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 53.39%, 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. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $31.03 million or 6.71% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 6.71%, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -13.13%.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • EV ENERGY PARTNERS 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, EV ENERGY PARTNERS LP turned its bottom line around by earning $2.55 versus -$1.69 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 72.2% in earnings ($0.71 versus $2.55).
  • EVEP's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.97 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.97 is weak.

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