5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: AEP, EPD, GOV, SO, LMT

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."

American Electric Power

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. The company generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.91.

The average volume for American Electric Power has been 2,822,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Electric Power has a market cap of $22.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 8.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year and reasonable 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:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.5%. 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 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.
  • AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO's earnings per share declined by 6.3% 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, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO reported lower earnings of $2.60 versus $3.24 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.15 versus $2.60).
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.22, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Electric Utilities industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.34 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.

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

Enterprise Products Partners

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

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 21.12.

The average volume for Enterprise Products Partners has been 1,201,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enterprise Products Partners has a market cap of $54.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 20.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enterprise Products Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.5%. 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 ($2.94 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 -25.48%.

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

Government Properties Income

Dividend Yield: 6.90%

Government Properties Income (NYSE: GOV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.90%.

Government Properties Income Trust operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. It primarily owns and leases office buildings that are leased mainly to government tenants. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.58.

The average volume for Government Properties Income has been 797,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Government Properties Income has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Government Properties Income as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GOV's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 35.90% is the gross profit margin for GOVERNMENT PPTYS INCOME TR which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 42.80% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $29.65 million or 1.15% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -16.37%.
  • 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 89.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13.06 million to $24.73 million.

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

Southern

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Southern (NYSE: SO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.99.

The average volume for Southern has been 4,044,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Southern has a market cap of $38.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 3.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $737.00 million or 29.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 12.17%.
  • SOUTHERN CO 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. 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, SOUTHERN CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.67 versus $2.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.75 versus $2.67).
  • The gross profit margin for SOUTHERN CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.20%. Regardless of SO's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.48% trails the industry average.
  • The share price of SOUTHERN CO has not done very well: it is down 5.53% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.

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

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Lockheed Martin Corporation, a security and aerospace company, engages in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems and products for defense, civil, and commercial applications in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.05.

The average volume for Lockheed Martin Corporation has been 1,965,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lockheed Martin Corporation has a market cap of $33.4 billion and is part of the aerospace/defense industry. Shares are up 16.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Lockheed Martin Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, this stock has enjoyed a nice rise of 26.69% 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, LMT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP has improved earnings per share by 15.3% 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, LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP increased its bottom line by earning $8.34 versus $7.86 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($9.00 versus $8.34).
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Aerospace & Defense industry and the overall market, LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 355.24% to $2,085.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 0.58%.
  • LMT, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 4.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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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