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."

Artisan Partners Asset Management

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

Artisan Partners Asset Management (NYSE: APAM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc is publicly owned investment manager. It provides its services to pension and profit sharing plans, trusts, endowments, foundations, charitable organizations, government entities, private funds and non-U.S. funds, as well as mutual funds, non-U.S. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.46.

The average volume for Artisan Partners Asset Management has been 381,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Artisan Partners Asset Management has a market cap of $2.0 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 22.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Artisan Partners Asset Management 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 poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT's earnings per share declined by 18.6% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT turned its bottom line around by earning $1.84 versus -$0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.23 versus $1.84).
  • Despite the weak revenue results, APAM has outperformed against the industry average of 24.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.3%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's 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, ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $111.69 million or 13.22% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 13.22%, ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT is still significantly exceeding the industry average of -146.35%.
  • The gross profit margin for ARTISAN PARTNERS ASSET MGMT is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.03%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 9.31% trails that of the industry average.

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Royal Dutch Shell

Dividend Yield: 6.60%

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.B) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.60%.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. It operates through Upstream and Downstream segments. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.22.

The average volume for Royal Dutch Shell has been 2,542,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $228.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 24.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell 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 deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.41, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • RDS.B, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 23.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 26.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $661.00 million or 90.69% 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.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 89.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $4,430.00 million to $484.00 million.

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Bank of Montreal

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Bank of Montreal provides diversified financial services primarily in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.36.

The average volume for Bank of Montreal has been 607,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Bank of Montreal has a market cap of $42.2 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 16.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Bank of Montreal as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, unimpressive growth in net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.7%. 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.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • BANK OF MONTREAL' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, BANK OF MONTREAL increased its bottom line by earning $6.58 versus $6.41 in the prior year.
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BANK OF MONTREAL has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$2,961.00 million or 378.28% 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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