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."

MPLX

Dividend Yield: 6.60%

MPLX (NYSE: MPLX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.60%.

MPLX LP owns, operates, develops, and acquires midstream energy infrastructure assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 69.70.

The average volume for MPLX has been 2,288,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. MPLX has a market cap of $10.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 21.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates MPLX as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations 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, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MPLX's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 34.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 339.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 404.27% to $295.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MPLX LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -39.87%.
  • The gross profit margin for MPLX LP is rather high; currently it is at 55.46%. Regardless of MPLX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MPLX's net profit margin of -9.93% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 57.88%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 163.46% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 231.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $45.60 million to -$60.00 million.

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Greif

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Greif (NYSE: GEF) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Greif, Inc. produces and sells industrial packaging products worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 66.23.

The average volume for Greif has been 476,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Greif has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the consumer non-durables industry. Shares are up 12.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Greif as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, 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:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 56.26% to -$26.20 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GREIF INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -59.67%.
  • GEF, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 8.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Containers & Packaging industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 136.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $30.10 million to -$11.10 million.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Containers & Packaging industry and the overall market, GREIF INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

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Energy Transfer Equity

Dividend Yield: 9.30%

Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.30%.

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. provides diversified energy-related services in the Unites States. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.99.

The average volume for Energy Transfer Equity has been 25,072,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Energy Transfer Equity has a market cap of $12.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 4.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Energy Transfer Equity as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP has improved earnings per share by 15.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.12 versus $0.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.20 versus $1.12).
  • 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 9.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $284.00 million to $312.00 million.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ETE has outperformed against the industry average of 31.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.3%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP is rather low; currently it is at 17.79%. Regardless of ETE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ETE's net profit margin of 3.91% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • ETE'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 64.13%, 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

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