3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: BWP, WPZ, KKR

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."

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.70%

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.70%.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP, through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and operation of integrated natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) pipelines, and storage systems in the United States. The company also transports, stores, gathers, and processes natural gas and NGLs. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.84.

The average volume for Boardwalk Pipeline Partners has been 808,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Boardwalk Pipeline Partners has a market cap of $6.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 27.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. 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 the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 9.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $92.60 million to $101.40 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $129.30 million or 17.75% 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 BOARDWALK PIPELINE PRTNRS-LP is rather high; currently it is at 62.95%. Regardless of BWP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BWP's net profit margin of 30.86% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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, 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.

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 33.79.

The average volume for Williams Partners has been 809,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Williams Partners has a market cap of $21.5 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 6.4% 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.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 10.8%. 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 -26.07%.
  • 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.

KKR

Dividend Yield: 5.20%

KKR (NYSE: KKR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.20%.

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 13.49.

The average volume for KKR has been 2,410,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. KKR has a market cap of $5.5 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 36.6% 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 49.78%, 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 -75.62%.
  • KKR, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 4.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to 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.

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