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3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: NRP, PVD, BPT

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."

Natural Resources Partners L.P

Dividend Yield: 9.40%

Natural Resources Partners L.P (NYSE: NRP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.40%.

Natural Resource Partners L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership, management, and leasing of mineral properties in the United States. It owns coal reserves in Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and the Western United States, as well as lignite reserves in the Gulf Coast region. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.16.

The average volume for Natural Resources Partners L.P has been 244,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Natural Resources Partners L.P has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 25.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Natural Resources Partners L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. When compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is currently very high, coming in at 93.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 54.88% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 8.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.0%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 8.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.97 versus $0.50 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 12.4% in earnings ($1.73 versus $1.97).
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.69 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio is weak, NRP's quick ratio is somewhat strong at 1.49, demonstrating the ability to handle short-term liquidity needs.

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