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."

National Oilwell Varco

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling, completion, and production; and provides oilfield services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.83.

The average volume for National Oilwell Varco has been 6,291,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $15.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 37.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco 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 reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NOV's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.06, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • NOV, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 22.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 25.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $194.00 million or 77.72% 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 company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market, NATIONAL OILWELL VARCO INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Plum Creek Timber

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Plum Creek Timber (NYSE: PCL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust (REIT). The trust owns and manages timberlands in the United States. Its products include lumber products, plywood, medium density fiberboard, and related by-products, such as wood chips. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.36.

The average volume for Plum Creek Timber has been 1,152,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Plum Creek Timber has a market cap of $7.1 billion and is part of the materials & construction industry. Shares are down 5.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates Plum Creek Timber as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. 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 weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that PCL's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • PCL, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 15.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 61.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $55.00 million to $21.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $76.00 million or 42.42% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

MarkWest Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.10%

MarkWest Energy Partners (NYSE: MWE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.10%.

MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. engages in the gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas. The company is also involved in the gathering, transportation, fractionation, storage, and marketing of natural gas liquids; and the gathering and transportation of crude oil. The company has a P/E ratio of 104.53.

The average volume for MarkWest Energy Partners has been 1,867,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. MarkWest Energy Partners has a market cap of $8.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 32% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates MarkWest Energy Partners as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP is rather high; currently it is at 53.40%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -22.08% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, MWE has outperformed against the industry average of 34.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $162.40 million or 33.56% 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.
  • 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 1230.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $8.98 million to -$101.49 million.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet: