Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 3: ETR, BX, T

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."

Entergy

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

Electric utility. Set Energy - Type of Energy Company: Utility. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.53.

The average volume for Entergy has been 1,500,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Entergy has a market cap of $11.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Entergy 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 sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 16.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.7%. 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.
  • ENTERGY CORP 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENTERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $4.75 versus $7.54 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.97 versus $4.75).
  • The gross profit margin for ENTERGY CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.13%. Regardless of ETR's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.13% trails the industry average.
  • The share price of ENTERGY CORP has not done very well: it is down 9.18% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. 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.
  • 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 on the basis of return on equity, ENTERGY CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to 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.

Blackstone Group

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

The Blackstone Group L.P. is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm also provides financial advisory services to its clients. It provides its services to public and corporate pension funds, academic, cultural, and charitable organizations. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.17.

The average volume for Blackstone Group has been 4,642,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Blackstone Group has a market cap of $12.4 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 42.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Blackstone Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BX's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 129.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 357.14% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 66.84% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, BX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • BLACKSTONE GROUP LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, BLACKSTONE GROUP LP turned its bottom line around by earning $0.40 versus -$0.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.39 versus $0.40).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 381.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$74.96 million to $211.15 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $236.25 million or 11.38% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, BLACKSTONE GROUP LP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 7.88%.

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

AT&T

Dividend Yield: 5.40%

AT&T (NYSE: T) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.40%.

AT&T Inc. provides telecommunications services to consumers, businesses, and other providers in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Wireless, Wireline, and Other. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.51.

The average volume for AT&T has been 22,627,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. AT&T has a market cap of $177.1 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 0.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AT&T as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, 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 lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • T's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • AT&T INC has improved earnings per share by 7.6% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AT&T INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.21 versus $0.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.48 versus $1.21).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.87, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that T's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.55, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for AT&T INC is rather high; currently it is at 58.63%. Regardless of T's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, T's net profit margin of 11.91% compares favorably to 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 the other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, AT&T INC'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.

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