3 Sell-Rated Dividend Stocks: ASC, OAKS, NRP

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."

Ardmore Shipping

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Ardmore Shipping (NYSE: ASC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Ardmore Shipping Corporation engages in the seaborne transportation of petroleum products and chemicals through product and chemical tankers worldwide. As of December 31, 2015, the company operated 24 vessels. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.24.

The average volume for Ardmore Shipping has been 180,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ardmore Shipping has a market cap of $230.9 million and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 27.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ardmore Shipping as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, ASC maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.94, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • ASC'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 27.15%, 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.
  • ARDMORE SHIPPING CORP has improved earnings per share by 30.0% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ARDMORE SHIPPING CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.23 versus $0.05 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 5.3% in earnings ($1.17 versus $1.23).
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ARDMORE SHIPPING CORP's return on equity has significantly outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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Five Oaks Investment

Dividend Yield: 14.40%

Five Oaks Investment (NYSE: OAKS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 14.40%.

Five Oaks Investment Corp. focuses on investing, financing, and managing a portfolio of residential mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

The average volume for Five Oaks Investment has been 70,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Five Oaks Investment has a market cap of $72.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 7.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Five Oaks Investment as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, FIVE OAKS INVESTMENT 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 -$0.78 million or 108.87% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • OAKS'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 51.88%, 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. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for FIVE OAKS INVESTMENT CORP is currently very high, coming in at 83.39%. Regardless of OAKS's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, OAKS's net profit margin of 13.29% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • OAKS, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 11.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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Natural Resources Partners

Dividend Yield: 16.40%

Natural Resources Partners (NYSE: NRP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 16.40%.

Natural Resource Partners L.P., through its subsidiaries, owns, operates, manages, and leases mineral properties in the United States. The company operates through four segments: Coal, Hard Mineral Royalty and Other; Soda Ash; VantaCore; and Oil and Gas.

The average volume for Natural Resources Partners has been 68,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Natural Resources Partners has a market cap of $134.2 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 16.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Natural Resources Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 352.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $8.65 million to -$21.79 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 18.14 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, NRP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.80, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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, NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 12.19%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -21.17% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $42.07 million or 21.59% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -49.17%.

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