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: 10.60%

ZAIS Financial (NYSE: ZFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.60%.

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 107.79.

The average volume for ZAIS Financial has been 27,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. ZAIS Financial has a market cap of $120.3 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 12.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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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 625.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1.15 million to -$6.04 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP's return on equity significantly trails 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 14.50% 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 40.5% in earnings ($1.73 versus $2.91).
  • ZFC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 6.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 12.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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JP Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 19.50%

JP Energy Partners (NYSE: JPEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 19.50%.

JP Energy Partners LP owns, operates, develops, and acquires a portfolio of midstream energy assets in the United States. It operates through four segments: Crude Oil Pipelines and Storage; Crude Oil Supply and Logistics; Refined Products Terminals and Storage; and NGL Distribution and Sales.

The average volume for JP Energy Partners has been 49,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. JP Energy Partners has a market cap of $122.8 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 46.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates JP Energy Partners as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for JP ENERGY PARTNERS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 6.07%. Regardless of JPEP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -1.44% trails the industry average.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, JPEP has outperformed against the industry average of 37.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 23.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • JPEP'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. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.88 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, JP ENERGY PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • JPEP'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 57.36%, 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.

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CONE Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.30%

CONE Midstream Partners (NYSE: CNNX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.30%.

CONE Midstream Partners LP acquires, owns, operates, and develops natural gas gathering and other midstream energy assets in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The company was founded in 2014 and is based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.60.

The average volume for CONE Midstream Partners has been 164,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. CONE Midstream Partners has a market cap of $365.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 50.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates CONE Midstream Partners as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its generally higher debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CNNX's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.19 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.40 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The gross profit margin for CONE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP is rather high; currently it is at 69.84%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 36.57% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • This stock's share value has moved by only 57.00% over the past year.
  • CONE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP has shown improvement in its earnings for its most recently reported quarter when compared with the same quarter a year earlier. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.07 versus $0.26).
  • 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 2.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $19.24 million to $19.66 million.

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