5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: EPR, ORI, GAS, PDLI, HE

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."

EPR Properties

Dividend Yield: 5.70%

EPR Properties (NYSE: EPR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.70%.

EPR Properties, a real estate investment trust (REIT), develops, owns, leases, and finances entertainment and related properties in the United States and Canada. Its properties include megaplex theatres, entertainment retail centers, and destination recreational and specialty properties. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.52.

The average volume for EPR Properties has been 319,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. EPR Properties has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 21.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates EPR Properties 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, revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 48.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 36.72% 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, EPR should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • EPR PROPERTIES has improved earnings per share by 48.0% 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, EPR PROPERTIES increased its bottom line by earning $2.31 versus $1.62 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.80 versus $2.31).
  • 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 92.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $21.37 million to $41.21 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for EPR PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 67.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 49.22% 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.

Old Republic International

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

Old Republic International (NYSE: ORI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

Old Republic International Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in underwriting insurance products primarily in the United States and Canada.

The average volume for Old Republic International has been 1,757,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Old Republic International has a market cap of $3.6 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 30.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Old Republic International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity 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:
  • Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 192.24% to $143.20 million when compared to the same quarter last year.
  • The net income increased by 13950.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.40 million to $56.20 million.
  • 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 where it was trading one year ago, ORI is up 35.79% to its most recent closing price of 13.81. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of a bull or bear market could certainly alter the outcome, our view is that this stock's positive fundamentals give it good potential for further appreciation.

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

AGL Resources

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

AGL Resources Inc., an energy services holding company, distributes natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.95.

The average volume for AGL Resources has been 539,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. AGL Resources has a market cap of $5.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 6.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AGL Resources 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 21.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AGL RESOURCES INC has improved earnings per share by 18.0% 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, AGL RESOURCES INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.31 versus $2.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.62 versus $2.31).
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. 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 net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Gas Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 18.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $130.00 million to $154.00 million.

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

PDL BioPharma

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

PDL BioPharma (NASDAQ: PDLI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

PDL BioPharma, Inc. engages in intellectual property asset management and patent portfolio and related assets investment activities. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.47.

The average volume for PDL BioPharma has been 1,771,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. PDL BioPharma has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are up 18.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PDL BioPharma as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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:
  • PDLI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 12.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for PDL BIOPHARMA INC is currently very high, coming in at 92.20%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 58.21% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 201.74% to $54.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PDL BIOPHARMA INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 20.42%.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, this stock has enjoyed a nice rise of 27.87% which was in line with the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, PDLI should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • PDL BIOPHARMA INC has improved earnings per share by 24.1% 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, PDL BIOPHARMA INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.47 versus $1.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.67 versus $1.47).

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

Hawaiian Electric Industries

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., through its subsidiaries, primarily engages in electric utility and banking businesses primarily in Hawaii. It operates in two segments, Electric Utility and Bank. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.69.

The average volume for Hawaiian Electric Industries has been 467,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hawaiian Electric Industries has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 6.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hawaiian Electric Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels 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:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 407.45% to $48.32 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC INDS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 10.44%.
  • HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC INDS's earnings per share declined by 15.0% 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, HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC INDS reported lower earnings of $1.43 versus $1.44 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.65 versus $1.43).
  • HE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 12.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.8%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.07, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Electric Utilities industry.

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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