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."

ConocoPhillips

Dividend Yield: 6.00%

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.00%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids worldwide.

The average volume for ConocoPhillips has been 8,460,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $60.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 31.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • COP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 36.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 39.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.83 is weak.
  • The share price of CONOCOPHILLIPS has not done very well: it is down 22.54% 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.
  • The gross profit margin for CONOCOPHILLIPS is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 29.54%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -14.74% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $1,934.00 million or 53.73% 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.

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National Oilwell Varco

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

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 10.37.

The average volume for National Oilwell Varco has been 5,437,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $12.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 48.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NOV's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 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 1.00 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • NOV, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 31.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 40.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $410.00 million or 21.00% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, NATIONAL OILWELL VARCO INC has marginally lower results.
  • 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 Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 77.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $699.00 million to $155.00 million.

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Waddell & Reed Financial

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE: WDR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides investment management and advisory, investment product underwriting and distribution, and shareholder services administration to mutual funds, and institutional and separately managed accounts in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.31.

The average volume for Waddell & Reed Financial has been 906,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Waddell & Reed Financial has a market cap of $2.4 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 41.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Waddell & Reed Financial 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 deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WDR, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 12.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market, WADDELL&REED FINL INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • WADDELL&REED FINL INC's earnings per share declined by 34.8% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, WADDELL&REED FINL INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.72 versus $2.96 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 21.3% in earnings ($2.93 versus $3.72).
  • The gross profit margin for WADDELL&REED FINL INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.52%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 13.37% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $74.73 million or 43.00% 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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