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."

Mesa Royalty

Dividend Yield: 11.60%

Mesa Royalty (NYSE: MTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.60%.

Mesa Royalty Trust holds net overriding royalty interests in various oil and gas properties in the United States. It has interests in properties located in the Hugoton field of Kansas; the San Juan Basin field of New Mexico and Colorado; and the Yellow Creek field of Wyoming. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.41.

The average volume for Mesa Royalty has been 9,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mesa Royalty has a market cap of $15.8 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 67% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Mesa Royalty 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, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MTR 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. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 11.92, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for MESA ROYALTY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. MTR has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MTR's net profit margin of 102.74% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • MESA ROYALTY 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, MESA ROYALTY TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $3.50 versus $1.85 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, MESA ROYALTY TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 67.60%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 76.84% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

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Solar Senior Capital

Dividend Yield: 9.10%

Solar Senior Capital (NASDAQ: SUNS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%.

Solar Senior Capital Ltd. is a business development company specializing in investments in leveraged, middle-market companies in the United States. The fund invests in the form of senior secured loans, including first lien, unitranche, and second lien debt instruments. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.43.

The average volume for Solar Senior Capital has been 22,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Solar Senior Capital has a market cap of $179.7 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Solar Senior Capital as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD is currently very high, coming in at 75.22%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 43.51% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that SUNS'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.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $0.09 million or 98.16% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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JMP Group

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

JMP Group (NYSE: JMP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

JMP Group LLC, together with its subsidiaries, provides investment banking and asset management services in the United States. The company operates through Broker-Dealer, Asset Management, and Corporate Credit segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.88.

The average volume for JMP Group has been 47,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. JMP Group has a market cap of $131.8 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 18.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates JMP Group as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its expanding profit margins. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • JMP GROUP LLC 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. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, JMP GROUP LLC increased its bottom line by earning $0.56 versus $0.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.63 versus $0.56).
  • JMP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for JMP GROUP LLC is rather low; currently it is at 17.62%. Regardless of JMP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, JMP's net profit margin of -8.26% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, JMP GROUP LLC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 300.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1.50 million to -$2.99 million.

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