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 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy." American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%. American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. The company generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.95. The average volume for American Electric Power has been 3,423,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Electric Power has a market cap of $20.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- AEP's revenue growth trails the industry average of 16.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.9%. 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.
- AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO's earnings per share declined by 8.0% 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, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO reported lower earnings of $2.60 versus $3.24 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.15 versus $2.60).
- The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Electric Utilities industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 6.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $362.00 million to $338.00 million.
- Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.23, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Electric Utilities industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.35 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
- In its most recent trading session, AEP 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.
- You can view the full American Electric Power Ratings Report.