What To Sell: 3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks ZFC, USAC, GSL

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: 10.70%

ZAIS Financial (NYSE: ZFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

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 106.64.

The average volume for ZAIS Financial has been 28,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. ZAIS Financial has a market cap of $119.0 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 14.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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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, weak operating cash flow, 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$3.95 million or 195.09% 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 share price of ZAIS FINANCIAL CORP has not done very well: it is down 14.00% 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 36.8% in earnings ($1.84 versus $2.91).

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USA Compression Partners

Dividend Yield: 19.10%

USA Compression Partners (NYSE: USAC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 19.10%.

USA Compression Partners, LP provides natural gas compression services under term contracts with customers in the oil and gas industry in the United States. It engineers, designs, operates, services, and repairs its compression units and maintains related support inventory and equipment. The company has a P/E ratio of 35.45.

The average volume for USA Compression Partners has been 188,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. USA Compression Partners has a market cap of $413.1 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 33.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates USA Compression Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally high debt management risk.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • USAC'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 31.45%, 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, USAC is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • USAC's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.47 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $34.19 million or 12.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 12.17%, USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -18.34%.
  • The gross profit margin for USA COMPRESSION PRTNRS LP is rather high; currently it is at 68.93%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 13.89% is above that of the industry average.

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Global Ship Lease

Dividend Yield: 7.40%

Global Ship Lease (NYSE: GSL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.40%.

Global Ship Lease, Inc. owns and charters containerships of various sizes under long-term fixed-rate charters to container shipping companies. As of April 21, 2015, it owned 19 vessels with a total capacity of 82,475 twenty-foot equivalent units. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.97.

The average volume for Global Ship Lease has been 105,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Global Ship Lease has a market cap of $128.4 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 40.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Global Ship Lease as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally high debt management risk, 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 Marine industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 700.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $6.72 million to -$40.32 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 Marine industry and the overall market, GLOBAL SHIP LEASE INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.24 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, GSL has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.58, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 32.84%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 761.53% 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.
  • GLOBAL SHIP LEASE 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GLOBAL SHIP LEASE INC reported lower earnings of $0.10 versus $0.68 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.22 versus $0.10).

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