3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: SLRC, LGCY, MARPS

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 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Solar Capital

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Solar Capital (NASDAQ: SLRC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Solar Capital Ltd. is a business development company specializing in investments in leveraged middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.36.

The average volume for Solar Capital has been 360,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Solar Capital has a market cap of $1.0 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Solar Capital as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 4.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.9%. 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 gross profit margin for SOLAR CAPITAL LTD is rather high; currently it is at 65.82%. Regardless of SLRC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SLRC's net profit margin of 77.67% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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, SOLAR CAPITAL LTD has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • SOLAR CAPITAL LTD's earnings per share declined by 35.7% 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, SOLAR CAPITAL LTD increased its bottom line by earning $3.12 versus $1.69 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 40.4% in earnings ($1.86 versus $3.12).
  • In its most recent trading session, SLRC 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.

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

Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

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 24.81.

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 197,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 17.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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, expanding profit margins 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:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.8%. 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 -26.07%.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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 43.7% in earnings ($0.81 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.

Marine Petroleum

Dividend Yield: 9.30%

Marine Petroleum (NASDAQ: MARPS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.30%.

Marine Petroleum Trust, through its subsidiary, Marine Petroleum Corporation, operates as a royalty trust in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.50.

The average volume for Marine Petroleum has been 3,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Marine Petroleum has a market cap of $34.0 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 23.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marine Petroleum 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, 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:
  • MARPS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The gross profit margin for MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. MARPS has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MARPS's net profit margin of 97.08% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST's earnings per share declined by 24.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $1.92 versus $1.59 in the prior year.
  • MARPS, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 22.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MARINE PETROLEUM TRUST's return on equity significantly 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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