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."

SunCoke Energy

Dividend Yield: 7.10%

SunCoke Energy (NYSE: SXC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.10%.

SunCoke Energy, Inc. operates as an independent producer of coke in the Americas. The company offers metallurgical and thermal coal for use as a raw material in the blast furnace steelmaking process. It also provides coal handling and blending services. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.73.

The average volume for SunCoke Energy has been 706,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. SunCoke Energy has a market cap of $555.4 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 56.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates SunCoke Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income increased by 72.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$49.20 million to -$13.50 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 78.96% to $65.50 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SUNCOKE ENERGY INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 7.09%.
  • SUNCOKE ENERGY INC 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, SUNCOKE ENERGY INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.99 versus $0.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.20 versus -$0.99).
  • 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SUNCOKE ENERGY INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for SUNCOKE ENERGY INC is rather low; currently it is at 18.61%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year.

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Ellington Financial

Dividend Yield: 14.20%

Ellington Financial (NYSE: EFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.20%.

Ellington Financial LLC, a specialty finance company, acquires and manages mortgage-related assets, including residential mortgage backed securities backed by prime jumbo, Alt-A, manufactured housing and subprime residential mortgage loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.48.

The average volume for Ellington Financial has been 131,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ellington Financial has a market cap of $613.1 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ellington Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.4%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC is currently very high, coming in at 76.96%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 49.14% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 37.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $20.95 million to $13.15 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. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, ELLINGTON FINANCIAL LLC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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VOC Energy

Dividend Yield: 11.40%

VOC Energy (NYSE: VOC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.40%.

VOC Energy Trust acquires and holds a term net profits interest of the net proceeds from production and sale of the interests in oil and natural gas properties in the states of Kansas and Texas. It has an 80% term net profits interest of the net proceeds on the underlying properties. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.08.

The average volume for VOC Energy has been 48,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. VOC Energy has a market cap of $65.5 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 28.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates VOC Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • VOC has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The gross profit margin for VOC ENERGY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. VOC has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VOC's net profit margin of 96.18% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • VOC ENERGY TRUST 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, VOC ENERGY TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $1.85 versus $1.68 in the prior year.
  • 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 on the basis of return on equity, VOC ENERGY TRUST has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 69.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $8.84 million to $2.72 million.

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