3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: GNI, LGCY, MCC

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."

Great Northern Iron Ore

Dividend Yield: 13.20%

Great Northern Iron Ore (NYSE: GNI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 13.20%.

Great Northern Iron Ore Properties, a conventional nonvoting trust, owns and leases mineral and non-mineral properties on the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.74.

The average volume for Great Northern Iron Ore has been 18,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Great Northern Iron Ore has a market cap of $102.1 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Great Northern Iron Ore 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, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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:
  • GNI has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.93, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for GREAT NORTHERN IRON ORE PPTY is currently very high, coming in at 78.00%. Regardless of GNI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, GNI's net profit margin of 77.96% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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. 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.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 32.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Metals & Mining industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 38.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $5.97 million to $3.69 million.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

Legacy Reserves LP, an independent oil and natural gas limited partnership, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties primarily located in the Permian Basin, Mid-Continent, and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.57.

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 217,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 16.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Legacy Reserves as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. 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 revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 37.8%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $55.49 million or 23.88% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -23.08%.
  • 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. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for LEGACY RESERVES LP is rather high; currently it is at 54.10%. Regardless of LGCY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, LGCY's net profit margin of -6.99% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • LEGACY RESERVES 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LEGACY RESERVES LP reported lower earnings of $1.43 versus $1.71 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 43.4% in earnings ($0.81 versus $1.43).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

Medley Capital

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

Medley Capital (NYSE: MCC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

Medley Capital Corporation is a business development company. The fund seeks to invest in privately negotiated debt and equity securities of small and middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.26.

The average volume for Medley Capital has been 503,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medley Capital has a market cap of $426.8 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 2.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Medley Capital as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • MCC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 102.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 32.85% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MCC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • MEDLEY CAPITAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 17.6% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MEDLEY CAPITAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.24 versus $0.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.49 versus $1.24).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 97.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $5.84 million to $11.52 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MEDLEY CAPITAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 66.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 57.01% significantly outperformed against the industry average.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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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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