5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: ED, AEE, FE, TOT, WPC

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."

Consolidated Edison

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Consolidated Edison, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.93.

The average volume for Consolidated Edison has been 1,500,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Edison has a market cap of $17.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 8.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Edison as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ED's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.4%. 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.
  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC 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, ED 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. 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.
  • CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC's earnings per share declined by 30.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.86 versus $3.57 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 1.6% in earnings ($3.80 versus $3.86).

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Ameren

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Ameren (NYSE: AEE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Ameren Corporation operates as a public utility holding company in the United States. It operates in three segments: Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, and Merchant Generation.

The average volume for Ameren has been 1,692,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ameren has a market cap of $8.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 16.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ameren as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share 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 disappointing return on equity.

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 Multi-Utilities industry. The net income increased by 64.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$403.00 million to -$145.00 million.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.
  • AMEREN CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, AMEREN CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$4.01 versus $2.14 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.10 versus -$4.01).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.95, 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 0.28 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • AEE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 2.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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FirstEnergy

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the United States. The company operates in Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.00.

The average volume for FirstEnergy has been 3,164,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $17.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 2.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates FirstEnergy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 112.10% to $50.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIRSTENERGY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.88%.
  • FIRSTENERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 35.6% 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, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
  • FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 13.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.56 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.27, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, FIRSTENERGY 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.

Total

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

Total (NYSE: TOT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

TOTAL S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a oil and gas company worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Upstream, Refining and Chemicals, and Marketing and Services. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.16.

The average volume for Total has been 1,706,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Total has a market cap of $114.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.3%. 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 36.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2,495.48 million to $3,413.92 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 192.85% to $8,281.29 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, TOTAL SA has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -23.86%.
  • TOTAL SA has improved earnings per share by 35.5% 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, TOTAL SA reported lower earnings of $6.22 versus $7.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.67 versus $6.22).

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.

W. P. Carey

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

W. P. Carey (NYSE: WPC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

W. P. Carey Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm also provides long-term sale-leaseback and build-to-suit financing for companies. It invests in the real estate markets across the globe. The company has a P/E ratio of 71.94.

The average volume for W. P. Carey has been 282,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. W. P. Carey has a market cap of $5.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 46.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates W. P. Carey as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WPC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 66.0%. 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.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, WPC's share price has jumped by 64.44%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, WPC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 15.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $12.29 million to $14.18 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 530.41% to $17.48 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, W P CAREY INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -34.71%.
  • The gross profit margin for W P CAREY INC is currently very high, coming in at 79.60%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, WPC's net profit margin of 12.50% significantly trails the industry average.

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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