4 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 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

ConocoPhillips

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.31. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

The average volume for ConocoPhillips has been 6,982,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $74.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 3.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • COP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 37.40% is the gross profit margin for CONOCOPHILLIPS which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 9.15% is above that of the industry average.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CONOCOPHILLIPS has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • CONOCOPHILLIPS 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 year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CONOCOPHILLIPS increased its bottom line by earning $5.87 versus $5.09 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 6.6% in earnings ($5.48 versus $5.87).

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Health Care REIT

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Health Care REIT, Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm engages in acquiring, planning, developing, managing, repositioning and monetizing of real estate assets. It primarily invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 67.42. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Health Care REIT a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Health Care REIT has been 1,754,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Health Care REIT has a market cap of $17.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Health Care REIT as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • HEALTH CARE REIT INC has improved earnings per share by 46.1% 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, HEALTH CARE REIT INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.47 versus $0.34 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.17 versus $0.47).
  • 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 140.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $44.52 million to $107.18 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $254.66 million or 49.28% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 38.95%.
  • 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. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

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.

Targa Resources Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.10%

Targa Resources Partners (NYSE: NGLS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.10%.

Targa Resources Partners LP provides midstream natural gas, natural gas liquid (NGL), terminaling, and crude oil gathering services in the United States. The company operates in two divisions, Gathering and Processing, and Logistics and Marketing. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.22. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Targa Resources Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Targa Resources Partners has been 534,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Targa Resources Partners has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 21.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Targa Resources Partners as a buy. The company's strongest point has been its 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:
  • TARGA RESOURCES PARTNERS LP 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, TARGA RESOURCES PARTNERS LP reported lower earnings of $1.20 versus $1.98 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.23 versus $1.20).
  • NGLS, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 2.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 21.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for TARGA RESOURCES PARTNERS LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 11.40%. Regardless of NGLS'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 2.18% trails the industry average.
  • In its most recent trading session, NGLS 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, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $149.90 million or 28.48% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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.

Intel

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Intel Corporation designs, manufactures, and sells integrated digital technology platforms worldwide. The company operates through PC Client Group, Data Center Group, Other Intel Architecture, Software and Services, and All Other segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.01. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Intel a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 21 rate it a hold.

The average volume for Intel has been 43,656,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Intel has a market cap of $105.5 billion and is part of the electronics industry. Shares are up 2.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Intel as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. 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:
  • Although INTC's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. To add to this, INTC has a quick ratio of 1.72, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for INTEL CORP is currently very high, coming in at 72.30%. Regardless of INTC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 18.31% trails the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 12.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, INTEL CORP's return on equity exceeds 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.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

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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