3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: LGCY, BKCC, NMFC

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."

Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 9.10%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.10%.

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 22.49

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 203,000 shares per day over the past 30 days Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the energy industry Shares are up 6.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday

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 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 10.7%. 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 -25.63%.
  • The gross profit margin for LEGACY RESERVES LP is rather high; currently it is at 54.08%. 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.
  • In its most recent trading session, LGCY has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • 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 45.5% in earnings ($0.78 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.

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation

Dividend Yield: 10.90%

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: BKCC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.90%.

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation is a private equity firm specializing in investments in middle market companies. The firm invests in all industries. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.69

The average volume for BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation has been 630,100 shares per day over the past 30 days BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation has a market cap of $704.7 million and is part of the financial services industry Shares are down 5.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday

TheStreet Ratings rates BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 46.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $20.30 million to $29.80 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 327.10% to $49.61 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -283.76%.
  • The gross profit margin for BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 58.11%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BKCC's net profit margin of 95.71% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 39.3% 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, BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP reported lower earnings of $0.78 versus $1.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.85 versus $0.78).

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

New Mountain Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.40%

New Mountain Finance (NYSE: NMFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.40%.

New Mountain Finance Corporation operates as a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.61

The average volume for New Mountain Finance has been 424,200 shares per day over the past 30 days New Mountain Finance has a market cap of $538.2 million and is part of the financial services industry Shares are down 4.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday

TheStreet Ratings rates New Mountain Finance as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 33.1%. 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 -$15.76 million or 47.66% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -283.76%.
  • The gross profit margin for NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP is rather high; currently it is at 58.05%. Regardless of NMFC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NMFC's net profit margin of 97.01% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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 3.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $23.67 million to $24.56 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 other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of 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.

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