5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: EPB, FE, EEP, HIMX, PPL

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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."

El Paso Pipeline Partners

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYSE: EPB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

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 19.60.

The average volume for El Paso Pipeline Partners has been 459,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. El Paso Pipeline Partners has a market cap of $9.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 16.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates El Paso Pipeline Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 34.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $101.00 million to $136.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for EL PASO PIPELINE PARTNERS LP is currently very high, coming in at 71.31%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 37.88% significantly outperformed against 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. 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.
  • 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. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 10.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.2%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing 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.

FirstEnergy

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

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

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the United States. The company operates in Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.74.

The average volume for FirstEnergy has been 3,236,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $16.3 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates FirstEnergy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 112.10% to $50.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIRSTENERGY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 24.61%.
  • FIRSTENERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 35.6% 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, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
  • FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 18.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.56 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.27, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, FIRSTENERGY CORP'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.

Enbridge Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.70%

Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE: EEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.70%.

Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. owns and operates crude oil and liquid petroleum transportation and storage assets; and natural gas gathering, treating, processing, transportation, and marketing assets in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 48.85.

The average volume for Enbridge Energy Partners has been 947,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enbridge Energy Partners has a market cap of $8.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 15.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enbridge Energy Partners as a buy. The company's strongest point has been its strong cash flow from operations. 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:
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 10.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing 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. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $205.90 million or 20.03% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 20.03%, ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -LP is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -25.84%.
  • The gross profit margin for ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -LP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.64%. Regardless of EEP's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EEP's net profit margin of -4.92% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -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, ENBRIDGE ENERGY PRTNRS -LP reported lower earnings of $1.25 versus $1.89 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 20.0% in earnings ($1.00 versus $1.25).

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

Himax Technologies

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Himax Technologies (NASDAQ: HIMX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Himax Technologies, Inc. designs, develops, and markets semiconductors for flat panel displays. The company operates in two segments, Driver IC and Non-Driver Products. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.72.

The average volume for Himax Technologies has been 5,127,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Himax Technologies has a market cap of $907.2 million and is part of the electronics industry. Shares are up 122.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Himax Technologies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and compelling growth in net income. 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 9.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • HIMX's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.17 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, HIMX has a quick ratio of 1.63, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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 230.24% 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, HIMX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES INC has improved earnings per share by 14.3% 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, HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.30 versus $0.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.43 versus $0.30).
  • 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 Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry average. The net income increased by 24.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $11.31 million to $14.03 million.

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

PPL

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

PPL (NYSE: PPL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to wholesale and retail customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates in four segments: Kentucky Regulated, U.K. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.55.

The average volume for PPL has been 5,857,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. PPL has a market cap of $18.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 10.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPL as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year, attractive valuation levels and notable return on equity. 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:
  • 39.93% is the gross profit margin for PPL CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.80% is above that of the industry average.
  • 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.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 18.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 40.2%. 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, PPL CORP's return on equity exceeds 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.

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