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3 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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Martin Midstream Partners L.P

Dividend Yield: 7.50%

Martin Midstream Partners L.P (NASDAQ: MMLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.50%.

Martin Midstream Partners L.P. collects, transports, stores, and markets petroleum products and by-products in the United States Gulf Coast region. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.11.

The average volume for Martin Midstream Partners L.P has been 126,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Martin Midstream Partners L.P has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 32.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Martin Midstream Partners L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. During the past fiscal year, MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.33 versus $0.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.69 versus $1.33).
  • 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 835.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.27 million to $11.87 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 74.54% to $50.68 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 20.25%.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

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