What To Buy: Top 5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: LO, SEP, PAA, NNN, CVI

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."

Lorillard

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Lorillard (NYSE: LO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Lorillard, Inc. manufactures and sells cigarettes in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Cigarettes and Electronic Cigarettes. The Cigarettes segment manufactures and sells cigarettes. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.52.

The average volume for Lorillard has been 3,556,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lorillard has a market cap of $16.2 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 11.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • LO's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • LORILLARD INC has improved earnings per share by 14.8% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LORILLARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.81 versus $2.67 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.13 versus $2.81).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Tobacco industry average. The net income increased by 9.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $284.00 million to $312.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$517.00 million or 17.54% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -8.64%.
  • The gross profit margin for LORILLARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 53.57%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 24.22% trails 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.

If you liked this article you might like

Reynolds Drops on Lorillard Debt; Stocks End Mixed on Jobs Report

Lorillard (LO) Stock Continues To Gain Following FTC Approval of Merger with Reynolds American

Stocks Extend Gains, Undeterred by Higher Dollar and Lower Oil

FTC Clears Reynolds to Inhale Lorillard for $27B by End of June

Lorrilard (LO) Stock Rising on Approval of Reynolds Merger