What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks PMT, APAM, FTR

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."

PennyMac Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 13.40%

PennyMac Mortgage Investment (NYSE: PMT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.40%.

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, a specialty finance company, invests primarily in residential mortgage loans and mortgage-related assets in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Correspondent Production and Investment Activities. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.86.

The average volume for PennyMac Mortgage Investment has been 561,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. PennyMac Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 13.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates PennyMac Mortgage Investment as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its reasonable valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. At the same time, however, 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:
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 34.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The share price of PENNYMAC MORTGAGE INVEST TR has not done very well: it is down 12.36% 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. 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, PENNYMAC MORTGAGE INVEST TR's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PENNYMAC MORTGAGE INVEST TR is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.58%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 11.84% significantly trails the industry average.

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Artisan Partners Asset Management

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

Artisan Partners Asset Management (NYSE: APAM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

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 company has a P/E ratio of 18.88.

The average volume for Artisan Partners Asset Management has been 320,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Artisan Partners Asset Management has a market cap of $1.7 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 12.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Artisan Partners Asset Management as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 ($2.98 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 126.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.64 million to $19.51 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $128.71 million or 12.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • APAM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 21.04% 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.

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Frontier Communications

Dividend Yield: 8.10%

Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.10%.

Frontier Communications Corporation, a communications company, provides regulated and unregulated voice, data, and video services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 129.00.

The average volume for Frontier Communications has been 10,648,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Frontier Communications has a market cap of $5.2 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 22.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Frontier Communications as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • 40.92% is the gross profit margin for FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of FTR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FTR's net profit margin of -3.71% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS 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. Stable earnings per share over the past two years indicate the company has managed its earnings and share float. We anticipate this stability to falter in the coming year and, in turn, the company to deliver lower earnings per share than the prior full year. During the past fiscal year, FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.13 versus $0.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects earnings to be in line with last year ($0.13 versus $0.13).
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $249.00 million or 20.41% 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.
  • In its most recent trading session, FTR 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. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

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