3 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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Enterprise Products Partners

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. provides midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), crude oil, refined products, and petrochemicals in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.58.

The average volume for Enterprise Products Partners has been 1,174,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enterprise Products Partners has a market cap of $54.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 21.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EPD's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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.
  • ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP has improved earnings per share by 13.7% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.71 versus $2.37 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.83 versus $2.71).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 15.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $651.30 million to $753.50 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 65.30% to $999.90 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -23.86%.

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.

Duke Energy Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

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 24.63.

The average volume for Duke Energy Corporation has been 2,687,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $51.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 15.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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 solid stock price performance. 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 13.0%. 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 3.93%.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.

Mercury General Corporation

Dividend Yield: 5.50%

Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.50%.

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile and property, mechanical breakdown, fire, and umbrella insurance. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.38.

The average volume for Mercury General Corporation has been 369,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mercury General Corporation has a market cap of $2.5 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 13.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mercury General Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MCY's revenue growth trails the industry average of 17.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.4%. 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.
  • MCY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.07 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • MERCURY GENERAL CORP's earnings per share declined by 9.7% 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, MERCURY GENERAL CORP reported lower earnings of $2.13 versus $3.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.49 versus $2.13).
  • In its most recent trading session, MCY 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.

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.

null

More from Markets

Flashback Friday: the Market Movers

Flashback Friday: the Market Movers

OPEC Deal Doesn't Boost Production Enough to Drive Down Crude, Gasoline Prices

OPEC Deal Doesn't Boost Production Enough to Drive Down Crude, Gasoline Prices

Dow Posts First Gain in Nine Sessions; Oil Jumps

Dow Posts First Gain in Nine Sessions; Oil Jumps

Amazon's Big Weakness in the Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling

Amazon's Big Weakness in the Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists

3 Must Reads on the Market From TheStreet's Top Columnists