3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: GEO, MWE, CXW

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."

Geo Group

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

Geo Group (NYSE: GEO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

The GEO Group, Inc. provides government-outsourced services specializing in the management of correctional, detention, and re-entry facilities, and the provision of community based services and youth services in the United States, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.71.

The average volume for Geo Group has been 973,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Geo Group has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 37.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Geo Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 55.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $15.03 million to $23.42 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, GEO GROUP INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 43.47% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 71.79% 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, GEO should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • GEO GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 43.5% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GEO GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.37 versus $1.11 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 27.4% in earnings ($1.72 versus $2.37).

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MarkWest Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

MarkWest Energy Partners (NYSE: MWE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

Markwest Energy Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 46.82.

The average volume for MarkWest Energy Partners has been 697,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. MarkWest Energy Partners has a market cap of $8.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 31.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates MarkWest Energy Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 142.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$74.09 million to $31.81 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $107.00 million or 28.21% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -13.50%.
  • 43.80% is the gross profit margin for MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 8.56% trails the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. 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.

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Corrections Corporation of America

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

Corrections Corporation of America, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates privatized correctional and detention facilities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.88.

The average volume for Corrections Corporation of America has been 1,948,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Corrections Corporation of America has a market cap of $3.9 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are up 8.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Corrections Corporation of America as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. 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:
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 456.25% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 39.76% 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, CXW should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • CORRECTIONS CORP AMER reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER increased its bottom line by earning $1.56 versus $1.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.01 versus $1.56).
  • 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 471.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $31.68 million to $181.09 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. In comparison to the other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.

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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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