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: 11.00%

ZAIS Financial (NYSE: ZFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.00%.

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 13.52.

The average volume for ZAIS Financial has been 22,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. ZAIS Financial has a market cap of $116.4 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 15.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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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 deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, 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 73.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $23.17 million to $6.05 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The share price of ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP has not done very well: it is down 23.81% 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 41.6% in earnings ($1.70 versus $2.91).
  • ZFC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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KNOT Offshore Partners

Dividend Yield: 11.00%

KNOT Offshore Partners (NYSE: KNOP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.00%.

KNOT Offshore Partners LP owns and operates shuttle tankers under long-term charters in the North Sea and Brazil. The company provides crude oil loading, transportation, and storage services under time charters and bareboat charters. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.48.

The average volume for KNOT Offshore Partners has been 106,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. KNOT Offshore Partners has a market cap of $255.9 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 16.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates KNOT Offshore Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.
  • KNOP's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 33.97%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last 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.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP is currently very high, coming in at 80.63%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 18.62% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP 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, KNOT OFFSHORE PRTNRS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.34 versus $0.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.44 versus $1.34).

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American Capital Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 13.20%

American Capital Mortgage Investment (NASDAQ: MTGE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.20%.

American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 60.40.

The average volume for American Capital Mortgage Investment has been 448,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $773.0 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 19.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates American Capital Mortgage Investment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

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 25.21%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 148.78% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.
  • 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 147.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $84.30 million to -$39.96 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP'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 $37.95 million or 5.40% 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.
  • AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP 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, AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP turned its bottom line around by earning $3.06 versus -$1.58 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 35.3% in earnings ($1.98 versus $3.06).

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