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5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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 and 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 5 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Suburban Propane Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.50%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.50%.

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the retail marketing and distribution of propane, fuel oil, and refined fuels. The company has a P/E ratio of 106.41.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 200,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Suburban Propane Partners has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 19.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Suburban Propane Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • SPH's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 63.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry. The net income increased by 157.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $23.23 million to $59.79 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 343.00% to $61.54 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 36.65%.
  • SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP reported lower earnings of $0.48 versus $3.22 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.20 versus $0.48).
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.28, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Gas Utilities industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.07 is sturdy.

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