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."

STMicroelectronics

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

STMicroelectronics N.V. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets various semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 54.43.

The average volume for STMicroelectronics has been 1,397,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. STMicroelectronics has a market cap of $6.7 billion and is part of the electronics industry. Shares are up 2.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates STMicroelectronics as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry average. The net income increased by 8.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$24.00 million to -$22.00 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.38, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, STM has a quick ratio of 1.79, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • STMICROELECTRONICS NV reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STMICROELECTRONICS NV turned its bottom line around by earning $0.14 versus -$0.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.27 versus $0.14).
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, STMICROELECTRONICS NV's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • STM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 13.23% 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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Excel

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Excel (NYSE: EXL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Excel Trust, Inc. engages in financing, developing, leasing, owning and managing community and power centers, grocery anchored neighborhood centers and freestanding retail properties. The company was founded in 2009 and is based in San Diego, California. The company has a P/E ratio of 71.82.

The average volume for Excel has been 949,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Excel has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 18% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Excel as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 32.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 811.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.20 million to $20.01 million.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, EXCEL TRUST INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for EXCEL TRUST INC is rather low; currently it is at 20.36%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 49.20% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.

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Two Harbors Investment

Dividend Yield: 10.20%

Two Harbors Investment (NYSE: TWO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.20%.

Two Harbors Investment Corp. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.76.

The average volume for Two Harbors Investment has been 2,400,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Two Harbors Investment has a market cap of $3.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 0.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Two Harbors Investment as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • TWO's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 181.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP reported lower earnings of $0.46 versus $1.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.04 versus $0.46).
  • 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, TWO HARBORS INVESTMENT CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$513.42 million or 212.52% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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