3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: BTE, NRZ, EC

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: 5.70%

Baytex Energy (NYSE: BTE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.70%.

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 999,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Baytex Energy has a market cap of $2.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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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 467.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $47.84 million to -$175.92 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 60.11%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 373.68% 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.
  • 46.97% is the gross profit margin for BAYTEX ENERGY CORP which we consider to be strong. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BTE's net profit margin of -76.85% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

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New Residential Investment

Dividend Yield: 10.60%

New Residential Investment (NYSE: NRZ) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.60%.

New Residential Investment Corp., a real estate investment trust (REIT), focuses on investing in and managing residential mortgage related assets. It operates through Servicing Related Assets, Residential Securities and Loans, and Other Investments segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.11.

The average volume for New Residential Investment has been 2,733,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. New Residential Investment has a market cap of $3.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 33.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates New Residential Investment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income has significantly decreased by 26.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $48.77 million to $35.98 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$18.59 million or 1000.72% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • NEW RESIDENTIAL INV CP's earnings per share declined by 34.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEW RESIDENTIAL INV CP increased its bottom line by earning $2.52 versus $1.96 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 22.2% in earnings ($1.96 versus $2.52).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, NEW RESIDENTIAL INV CP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NRZ, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 8.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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Ecopetrol

Dividend Yield: 7.10%

Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.10%.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas primarily in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Angola, and the United States Gulf Coast. The company has a P/E ratio of 1566.00.

The average volume for Ecopetrol has been 975,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ecopetrol has a market cap of $29.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 17.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ecopetrol 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, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ECOPETROL SA 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ECOPETROL SA reported lower earnings of $1.55 versus $3.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 56.1% in earnings ($0.68 versus $1.55).
  • 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 96.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1,672.95 million to $63.18 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ECOPETROL SA's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of 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 60.09%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 96.29% compared to the year-earlier 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 decreased to $1,379.89 million or 25.40% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow ECOPETROL SA is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.17%.

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