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."

Rayonier

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Rayonier (NYSE: RYN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Rayonier Inc. operates as an investment arm of Rayonier TRS Operating Company. Rayonier, Inc. engages in the sale and development of real estate and timberland management, as well as in the production and sale of cellulose fibers in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. The company has a P/E ratio of 50.62.

The average volume for Rayonier has been 1,211,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Rayonier has a market cap of $2.9 billion and is part of the materials & construction industry. Shares are down 18.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Rayonier as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 29.0%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, RAYONIER INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for RAYONIER INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 31.05%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -1.32% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • RAYONIER INC 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RAYONIER INC reported lower earnings of $0.43 versus $0.80 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 18.6% in earnings ($0.35 versus $0.43).
  • 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 109.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $16.35 million to -$1.54 million.

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CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 8.00%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.00%.

CenturyLink, Inc. provides various communications services to residential, business, governmental, and wholesale customers in the United States. It operates through two segments, Business and Consumer. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.24.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 5,713,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $15.2 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 32.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CENTURYLINK INC's earnings per share declined by 23.5% 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, CENTURYLINK INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.35 versus -$0.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.48 versus $1.35).
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.40, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.44 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • 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 the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income has significantly decreased by 25.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $193.00 million to $143.00 million.

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ONEOK

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

ONEOK (NYSE: OKE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

ONEOK, Inc., through its general partner interests in ONEOK Partners, L.P., engages in the gathering, processing, storage, and transportation of natural gas in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.58.

The average volume for ONEOK has been 2,807,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. ONEOK has a market cap of $8.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 22% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 24.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $61.59 million to $76.51 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ONEOK INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 34.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 30.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • OKE'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 29.13%, 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. 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, OKE is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 17.05 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.35, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

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