5 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 5 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Public Service Enterprise Group

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company primarily in the northeastern and mid Atlantic United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.37. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Public Service Enterprise Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Public Service Enterprise Group has been 3,062,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Public Service Enterprise Group has a market cap of $17.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 9.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Public Service Enterprise Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.76, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.38 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • PEG, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.90%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 9.31% is above that of the industry average.

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Home Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Home Properties (NYSE: HME) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Home Properties, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It is engaged in the ownership, management, acquisition, rehabilitation and development of residential apartment communities. The company has a P/E ratio of 47.80. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Home Properties a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Home Properties has been 426,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Home Properties has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 3.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Home Properties 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, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HOME PROPERTIES INC 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, HOME PROPERTIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.33 versus $0.81 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.34 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 400.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13.93 million to $69.77 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $69.99 million or 34.84% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HOME PROPERTIES INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 32.95%.

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Duke Energy Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Duke Energy Corporation operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. The company operates in three segments: U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas, Commercial Power, and International Energy. The U.S. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.93. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Duke Energy Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Duke Energy Corporation has been 2,890,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $49.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 10.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DUK's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 14.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 69.1%. 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.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 51.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $288.00 million to $435.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 96.12% to $1,265.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DUKE ENERGY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 5.45%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.99, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.35 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • DUKE ENERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 13.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $3.06 versus $3.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.34 versus $3.06).

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

CreXus Investment

Dividend Yield: 7.50%

CreXus Investment (NYSE: CXS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.50%.

CreXus Investment Corp., through its subsidiaries, operates as a commercial real estate company. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.60. Currently there are no analysts that rate CreXus Investment a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

The average volume for CreXus Investment has been 1,127,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. CreXus Investment has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates CreXus Investment as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. 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 gross profit margin for CREXUS INVESTMENT CORP is currently very high, coming in at 74.50%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CXS's net profit margin of 84.39% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • CREXUS INVESTMENT CORP has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. 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, CREXUS INVESTMENT CORP reported lower earnings of $0.85 versus $1.59 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.00 versus $0.85).
  • CXS, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 54.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CREXUS INVESTMENT CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

Southern

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Southern (NYSE: SO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.15. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Southern a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Southern has been 4,420,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Southern has a market cap of $39.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 6.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SOUTHERN CO has improved earnings per share by 43.3% 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, SOUTHERN CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.67 versus $2.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.75 versus $2.67).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 44.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $277.00 million to $399.00 million.
  • SO's revenue growth trails the industry average of 14.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SOUTHERN CO has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, SO 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, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.

New From TheStreet: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys dividend stocks that have the potential for a 3% to 4% yield and 10% growth. Get his best picks for less than $50/year.

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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.

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