5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: VIV, BCE, GAS, EPB, WPZ

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."

Telefonica Brasil S.A

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Telefonica Brasil S.A (NYSE: VIV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Telefonica Brasil S.A. provides fixed-line telecommunications services to residential and commercial customers in Brazil. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.48

The average volume for Telefonica Brasil S.A has been 1,214,100 shares per day over the past 30 days Telefonica Brasil S.A has a market cap of $24.1 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry Shares are down 10.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday

TheStreet Ratings rates Telefonica Brasil S.A as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels 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:
  • VIV's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.18 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.11, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for TELEFONICA BRASIL SA is rather high; currently it is at 60.88%. Regardless of VIV's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VIV's net profit margin of 9.46% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • VIV, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TELEFONICA BRASIL SA 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.

BCE

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

BCE (NYSE: BCE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

BCE Inc. provides communications solutions to residential, business, and wholesale customers primarily in Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.00

The average volume for BCE has been 842,400 shares per day over the past 30 days BCE has a market cap of $31.8 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry Shares are down 4.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday

TheStreet Ratings rates BCE as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • BCE INC has improved earnings per share by 5.8% 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. During the past fiscal year, BCE INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.34 versus $2.87 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income increased by 5.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $566.00 million to $599.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, BCE INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • 48.75% is the gross profit margin for BCE INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 12.17% is above that of 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.

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 17.17

The average volume for AGL Resources has been 489,100 shares per day over the past 30 days AGL Resources has a market cap of $5.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry Shares are up 7.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday

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 10.0%. 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 ($2.64 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.

El Paso Pipeline Partners

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYSE: EPB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. engages in the ownership and operation of interstate natural gas transportation and terminaling facilities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.11

The average volume for El Paso Pipeline Partners has been 450,100 shares per day over the past 30 days El Paso Pipeline Partners has a market cap of $9.5 billion and is part of the energy industry Shares are up 18.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday

TheStreet Ratings rates El Paso Pipeline Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. 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:
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 29.63% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, EPB should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • 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 16.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $149.00 million to $174.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for EL PASO PIPELINE PARTNERS LP is currently very high, coming in at 76.17%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 45.07% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $276.00 million or 32.69% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, EL PASO PIPELINE PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -25.63%.
  • 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. In comparison to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, EL PASO PIPELINE PARTNERS LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded 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.

Williams Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.60%

Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.60%.

Williams Partners L.P., an energy infrastructure company, focuses on connecting North America's hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL). It operates in two segments, Gas Pipeline and Midstream Gas & Liquids. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.24

The average volume for Williams Partners has been 863,700 shares per day over the past 30 days Williams Partners has a market cap of $21.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry Shares are up 5.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Partners as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 40.55% is the gross profit margin for WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 18.28% is above that of the industry average.
  • WPZ, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 10.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • WPZ's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.49 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $511.00 million or 0.38% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -25.63%.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below 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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