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: 10.90%

ZAIS Financial (NYSE: ZFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.90%.

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 13.61.

The average volume for ZAIS Financial has been 21,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. ZAIS Financial has a market cap of $117.2 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 14.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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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 18.16% 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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Enerplus

Dividend Yield: 8.80%

Enerplus (NYSE: ERF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.80%.

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 1,513,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enerplus has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 49.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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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 882.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $39.96 million to -$312.54 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. 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 decreased to $135.10 million or 40.87% 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.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 73.24%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 900.00% 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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American Capital Mortgage Investment

Dividend Yield: 10.40%

American Capital Mortgage Investment (NASDAQ: MTGE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.40%.

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 61.68.

The average volume for American Capital Mortgage Investment has been 440,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Capital Mortgage Investment has a market cap of $789.4 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 19.3% 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:
  • The share price of AMERICAN CAPITAL MTG INV CP has not done very well: it is down 21.69% 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. 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.
  • 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 35.9% in earnings ($1.96 versus $3.06).

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