3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: LINE, ERF, VALE

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."

Linn Energy

Dividend Yield: 12.00%

Linn Energy (NASDAQ: LINE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.00%.

Linn Energy, LLC, an independent oil and natural gas company, acquires and develops oil and natural gas properties in the Unites States.

The average volume for Linn Energy has been 2,414,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Linn Energy has a market cap of $3.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 2.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Linn Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 297.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$85.34 million to -$339.16 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.52 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.49, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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, LINN ENERGY LLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for LINN ENERGY LLC is currently extremely low, coming in at 8.13%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -37.00% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $374.70 million or 13.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow LINN ENERGY LLC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.28%.

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Enerplus

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Enerplus (NYSE: ERF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Enerplus Corporation, together with subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of crude oil and natural gas in the United States and Canada.

The average volume for Enerplus has been 1,111,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enerplus has a market cap of $2.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 1.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Enerplus as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its 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:
  • 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 832.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $40.04 million to -$293.21 million.
  • 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, ENERPLUS CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $131.10 million or 6.63% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow ENERPLUS CORP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.28%.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 57.79%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 847.36% 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.
  • ENERPLUS 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. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENERPLUS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.43 versus $0.23 in the prior year.

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Vale

Dividend Yield: 6.00%

Vale (NYSE: VALE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.00%.

Vale S.A., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the research, production, and sale of iron ore and pellets, nickel, fertilizer, copper, coal, manganese, ferroalloys, cobalt, platinum group metals, and precious metals in Brazil and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.05.

The average volume for Vale has been 33,647,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Vale has a market cap of $33.9 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 22.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Vale as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself 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 significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 224.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2,515.00 million to -$3,118.00 million.
  • 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, VALE SA's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $531.00 million or 86.99% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 48.00%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 224.48% 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.
  • VALE 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. 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, VALE SA increased its bottom line by earning $0.13 versus $0.01 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 242.3% in earnings (-$0.19 versus $0.13).

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