3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: DLR, WR, KKR

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."

Digital Realty

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Digital Realty Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), through its controlling interest in Digital Realty Trust, L.P., engages in the ownership, acquisition, development, redevelopment, and management of technology-related real estate. The company has a P/E ratio of 42.16.

The average volume for Digital Realty has been 1,630,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Digital Realty has a market cap of $7.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Digital Realty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.5%. 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.
  • 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 5.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $48.04 million to $50.71 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $89.04 million or 26.23% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -16.35%.
  • DIGITAL REALTY TRUST INC's earnings per share declined by 5.5% 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, DIGITAL REALTY TRUST INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.47 versus $1.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 3.4% in earnings ($1.42 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.

Westar Energy

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Westar Energy (NYSE: WR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Westar Energy, Inc., an electric utility, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Kansas. It produces electricity through various sources, including coal, wind, nuclear, natural gas, diesel, uranium, and landfill gas. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.59.

The average volume for Westar Energy has been 789,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Westar Energy has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 12.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Westar Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, 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 generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.8%. 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 Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 85.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $27.52 million to $51.14 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 202.72% to $193.63 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, WESTAR ENERGY INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 12.45%.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, WESTAR ENERGY INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to 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.

KKR

Dividend Yield: 5.50%

KKR (NYSE: KKR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.50%.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is a private equity investment firm specializing in acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, special situations, growth equity, mature, and middle market investments. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.32.

The average volume for KKR has been 2,616,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. KKR has a market cap of $5.2 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 29.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates KKR as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, KKR's share price has jumped by 62.17%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market, KKR & CO LP'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 314.30% to $1,510.12 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, KKR & CO LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -324.31%.
  • KKR & CO LP's earnings per share declined by 13.8% 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, KKR & CO LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.23 versus $0.04 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.53 versus $2.23).
  • 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 Capital Markets industry average. The net income increased by 1.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $190.44 million to $193.44 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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