Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer

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 "Buy."

NuStar Energy L.P

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

NuStar Energy L.P

(NYSE:

NS

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

NuStar Energy L.P. engages in the terminalling, storage, and marketing of petroleum products; and transportation of petroleum products and anhydrous ammonia primarily in the United States and the Netherlands. It operates through three segments: Pipeline, Storage, and Fuels Marketing. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.10.

The average volume for NuStar Energy L.P has been 275,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. NuStar Energy L.P has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

NuStar Energy L.P

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel its 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 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. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NUSTAR ENERGY LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • NUSTAR ENERGY LP's earnings per share declined by 6.9% 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, NUSTAR ENERGY LP turned its bottom line around by earning $2.14 versus -$2.82 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.26 versus $2.14).
  • Despite the weak revenue results, NS has outperformed against the industry average of 38.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 23.9%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income has decreased by 2.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $55.51 million to $54.33 million.

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Corrections Corp of America

Dividend Yield: 6.20%

Corrections Corp of America

(NYSE:

CXW

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.20%.

Corrections Corporation of America, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates privatized correctional and detention facilities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.53.

The average volume for Corrections Corp of America has been 636,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Corrections Corp of America has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Corrections Corp of America

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 8.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 76.00% to $117.19 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.20%.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that CXW's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.

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EPR Properties

Dividend Yield: 6.40%

EPR Properties

(NYSE:

EPR

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.40%.

EPR Properties is a real estate investment trust. It invests in the real estate markets of United States and Canada. The firm develops, owns, leases and finances properties in select market segments primarily related to entertainment, education and recreation. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.38.

The average volume for EPR Properties has been 324,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. EPR Properties has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

EPR Properties

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • EPR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.5%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $57.52 million or 38.49% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.20%.
  • The gross profit margin for EPR PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 64.76%. Regardless of EPR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EPR's net profit margin of 42.98% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • EPR PROPERTIES' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EPR PROPERTIES reported lower earnings of $2.78 versus $3.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.92 versus $2.78).
  • In its most recent trading session, EPR has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.

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