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 or Stephanie Link.

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."

Mid-America Apartment Communities

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Mid-America Apartment Communities

(NYSE:

MAA

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It is engaged in acquisition, redevelopment, new development, property management, and disposition of multifamily apartment communities. The company has a P/E ratio of 35.90.

The average volume for Mid-America Apartment Communities has been 486,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mid-America Apartment Communities has a market cap of $4.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Mid-America Apartment Communities

as a

buy

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • MAA's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC has improved earnings per share by 8.6% 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, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.45 versus $0.88 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.76 versus $1.45).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 43.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $30.85 million to $44.26 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $59.40 million or 1.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 8.45%.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, MID-AMERICA APT CMNTYS INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Macerich Company

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Macerich Company

(NYSE:

MAC

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

The Macerich Company is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.73.

The average volume for Macerich Company has been 884,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Macerich Company has a market cap of $7.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 5.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Macerich Company

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 and notable return on equity. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 35.4%. 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 $146.07 million or 30.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.45%.
  • MACERICH CO's earnings per share declined by 9.7% 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, MACERICH CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.92 versus $1.73 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.21 versus $1.92).
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, MACERICH CO's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

AmeriGas Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.80%

AmeriGas Partners

(NYSE:

APU

) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

AmeriGas Partners, L.P. operates as a retail and wholesale distributor of propane gas, and related equipment and supplies in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.03.

The average volume for AmeriGas Partners has been 358,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. AmeriGas Partners has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates

AmeriGas Partners

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, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP has improved earnings per share by 26.7% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP turned its bottom line around by earning $1.43 versus -$0.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.78 versus $1.43).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Gas Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 28.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$76.00 million to -$54.06 million.
  • APU's revenue growth trails the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Gas Utilities industry and the overall market, AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 45.29% is the gross profit margin for AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of APU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, APU's net profit margin of -10.16% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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