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."

Energy Transfer Equity

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Energy Transfer Equity

(NYSE:

ETE

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., through its subsidiaries, provides diversified energy-related services in the Unites States. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.11.

The average volume for Energy Transfer Equity has been 6,393,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Energy Transfer Equity has a market cap of $27.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 11.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Energy Transfer Equity

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY 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, ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP increased its bottom line by earning $0.52 versus $0.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.08 versus $0.52).
  • 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 81.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $164.00 million to $298.00 million.
  • 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, ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ETE has outperformed against the industry average of 34.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 20.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 14.71%. Regardless of ETE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.75% trails the industry average.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

National Health Investors

Dividend Yield: 6.10%

National Health Investors

(NYSE:

NHI

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.10%.

National Health Investors Inc. is a real estate investment trust. It invests in the real estate markets of United States. The firm invests in the health care properties primarily in the long-term care and senior housing industries. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.64.

The average volume for National Health Investors has been 240,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Health Investors has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 19.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

National Health Investors

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • NATIONAL HEALTH INVESTORS has improved earnings per share by 9.2% 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, NATIONAL HEALTH INVESTORS increased its bottom line by earning $3.03 versus $2.76 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.34 versus $3.03).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $41.43 million or 26.53% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 16.09%.
  • The gross profit margin for NATIONAL HEALTH INVESTORS is currently very high, coming in at 71.99%. Regardless of NHI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NHI's net profit margin of 55.65% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 23.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $25.30 million to $31.18 million.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Nordic American Tankers

Dividend Yield: 11.00%

Nordic American Tankers

(NYSE:

NAT

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.00%.

Nordic American Tankers Limited, a tanker company, engages in acquiring and chartering double-hull tankers. As of December 31, 2014, it owned 24 Suezmax crude oil tankers, including two new buildings under construction. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The average volume for Nordic American Tankers has been 2,204,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nordic American Tankers has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 43.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Nordic American Tankers

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • NAT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 34.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 75.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NAT's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.86, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 284.21% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 65.62% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, NAT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD 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, NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD continued to lose money by earning -$0.15 versus -$1.67 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.40 versus -$0.15).
  • 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 286.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$16.54 million to $30.90 million.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet: