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."

ZAIS Financial

Dividend Yield: 10.30%

ZAIS Financial (NYSE: ZFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.30%.

Zais Financial Corp. originates, acquires, finances, sells, services, and manages residential mortgage loans in the United States. It originates mortgage loans through its GMFS mortgage banking platform; and acquires performing, re-performing, and newly originated loans through other channels. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.40.

The average volume for ZAIS Financial has been 19,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. ZAIS Financial has a market cap of $123.9 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates ZAIS Financial 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, 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 83.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.22 million to $0.37 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$30.09 million or 1904.73% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The share price of ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP has not done very well: it is down 15.69% 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.
  • ZAIS FINANCIAL 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 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, ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.91 versus $0.81 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 41.8% in earnings ($1.70 versus $2.91).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.0%. 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.

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Nordic American Offshore

Dividend Yield: 11.20%

Nordic American Offshore (NYSE: NAO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.20%.

Nordic American Offshore Ltd. owns and operates platform supply vessels in the North Sea. It owns and operates eight vessels. The company was founded in 2013 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The average volume for Nordic American Offshore has been 144,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nordic American Offshore has a market cap of $141.8 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 50.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Nordic American Offshore 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 and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NORDIC AMERICAN OFFSHORE 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. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 196.8% in earnings (-$0.30 versus $0.31).
  • 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 Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 110.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $4.12 million to -$0.42 million.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 66.82%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 111.11% 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.
  • 39.18% is the gross profit margin for NORDIC AMERICAN OFFSHORE 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, NAO's net profit margin of -3.68% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • NAO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 22.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 22.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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Student Transportation

Dividend Yield: 11.30%

Student Transportation (NASDAQ: STB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.30%.

Student Transportation Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides school bus transportation services in the United States and Canada. It offers contracted, managed, special needs transportation, direct-to-parent, and charter services. The company has a P/E ratio of 193.50.

The average volume for Student Transportation has been 162,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Student Transportation has a market cap of $372.7 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 36% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Student Transportation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 37.20%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 33.33% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, STB is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC's earnings per share declined by 33.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC reported lower earnings of $0.02 versus $0.04 in the prior year.
  • 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 Road & Rail industry average. The net income has significantly decreased by 27.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.60 million to $1.89 million.
  • 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 Road & Rail industry and the overall market, STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for STUDENT TRANSPORTATION INC is rather low; currently it is at 23.13%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.21% significantly trails the industry average.

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