What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks HSC, THRX, APAM

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."

Harsco

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Harsco (NYSE: HSC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Harsco Corporation provides industrial services and engineered products worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Harsco Metals and Minerals, Harsco Rail, and Harsco Industrial.

The average volume for Harsco has been 633,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Harsco has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 10.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Harsco as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 3.05 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, HSC maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.75, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for HARSCO CORP is rather low; currently it is at 20.04%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.38% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $10.47 million or 61.95% 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.
  • HSC'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 34.60%, 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.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Machinery industry and the overall market, HARSCO CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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