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3 High-Yield Stocks to Counter U.S. Downgrade

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1. National Presto (NPK - Get Report) has gone largely unnoticed, though, it ranks among the best small-cap dividend stocks. However, with a market value of $738 million, Presto is a little-discussed company, manufacturing small appliances, such as toasters and pressure cookers, defense products, including ammunition, and absorbent products, including diapers. Such a wide variety of seemingly unrelated products has yielded tremendous consistency. Presto has grown sales and net income 4.4% and 18%, annually, on average, over a three-year span.

No sell-side analysts cover Presto's stock, which has delivered annualized gains of 29% since 2008, but has corrected 6.2% in the past 12 months and is down 17% year-to-date. It's now fallen to attractive levels, based on peer valuation and dividend potential, trading at a trailing earnings multiple of 11, a forward earnings multiple of 10 and a book value multiple of 2.1, indicating respective discounts of 41%, 32% and 62% to industry averages. Presto has been ranked "buy" by the quantitative equity model, used by TheStreet Ratings, since April of 2009. It has returned 51% since then, excluding distributions, which are lofty.

Presto pays its dividend at the end of each calendar year, declaring a regular payment and a special dividend on top. Since most screeners don't account for special dividends, it appears that Presto offers a paltry yield of 0.9%, which only accounts for the annual $1 payment from the company. In reality, the yield is upwards of 7%. The distribution has grown 25% and 31%, annually, over a three- and five-year span, respectively. The payout has steadily climbed from $2.45, in 2008, to $7.25, in 2011. The last dividend translated to a yield of 6.3% upon declaration. Presto has an ideal financial position, with $151 million of cash and no debt, for an ample quick ratio of 3.6.

-- Written by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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