3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: COP, PBCT, HPT

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."

ConocoPhillips

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.37.

The average volume for ConocoPhillips has been 6,536,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $74.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 6.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, 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:
  • 40.60% is the gross profit margin for CONOCOPHILLIPS which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.09% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $4,730.00 million or 13.10% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -25.48%.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CONOCOPHILLIPS has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • 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.

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

People's United Financial

Dividend Yield: 4.80%

People's United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.80%.

People's United Financial, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for People's United Bank that provides commercial banking, retail and business banking, and wealth management services to individual, corporate, and municipal customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.21.

The average volume for People's United Financial has been 3,484,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. People's United Financial has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 14.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates People's United Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC's earnings per share declined by 5.9% 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, PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.72 versus $0.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.77 versus $0.72).
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 39.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.3%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC is currently very high, coming in at 87.40%. Regardless of PBCT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PBCT's net profit margin of 15.83% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market, PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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

Hospitality Properties

Dividend Yield: 7.10%

Hospitality Properties (NYSE: HPT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.10%.

Hospitality Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in buying, owning, and leasing hotels. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.75.

The average volume for Hospitality Properties has been 1,359,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hospitality Properties has a market cap of $3.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 14.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hospitality Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. 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:
  • HPT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.6%. 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 a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES TRUST's earnings per share declined by 34.8% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES TRUST reported lower earnings of $0.84 versus $1.30 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 10.7% in earnings ($0.75 versus $0.84).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 36.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $42.95 million to $27.51 million.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

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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