Buy These Top 5 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: LO, RGR, PPL, EPD, GEL

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: 4.90%

Lorillard (NYSE: LO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

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 14.01.

The average volume for Lorillard has been 3,296,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lorillard has a market cap of $16.8 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 16.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Lorillard as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, increase 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:
  • 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.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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.
  • 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 -8.53%.

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

Sturm Ruger & Company

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Sturm Ruger & Company (NYSE: RGR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of firearms in the United States. The company offers single-shot, auto loading, bolt-action, and sporting rifles; single-action and double-action revolvers; and rim fire auto loading and center fire auto loading pistols. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.69.

The average volume for Sturm Ruger & Company has been 339,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Sturm Ruger & Company has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the aerospace/defense industry. Shares are up 31.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sturm Ruger & Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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:
  • RGR's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 50.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • RGR 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. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.48, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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 Leisure Equipment & Products industry and the overall market, STURM RUGER & CO INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 42.14% is the gross profit margin for STURM RUGER & CO INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 17.99% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 151.75% to $39.43 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, STURM RUGER & CO INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 17.67%.

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

PPL

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

PPL (NYSE: PPL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to wholesale and retail customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates in four segments: Kentucky Regulated, U.K. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.13.

The average volume for PPL has been 4,465,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. PPL has a market cap of $19.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 5.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPL 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, attractive valuation levels 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 16.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 36.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 49.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $271.00 million to $405.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 221.00% to $703.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PPL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 19.05%.
  • 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, PPL CORP's return on equity 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.

Enterprise Products Partners

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. provides midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), crude oil, refined products, and petrochemicals in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.90.

The average volume for Enterprise Products Partners has been 1,195,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Enterprise Products Partners has a market cap of $53.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 20.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Enterprise Products Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth 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 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.9%. 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.
  • ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP's earnings per share declined by 6.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.71 versus $2.37 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.82 versus $2.71).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 2.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $566.30 million to $552.50 million.
  • 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, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ENTERPRISE PRODS PRTNRS -LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded 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.

Genesis Energy

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Genesis Energy (NYSE: GEL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Genesis Energy, L.P. operates in the midstream segment of the oil and gas industry in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. It operates through three segments: Pipeline Transportation, Refinery Services, and Supply and Logistics. The company has a P/E ratio of 36.30.

The average volume for Genesis Energy has been 263,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Genesis Energy has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 38.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Genesis Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. 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 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • GENESIS ENERGY -LP has improved earnings per share by 43.5% 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, GENESIS ENERGY -LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.23 versus $0.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.44 versus $1.23).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 44.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $18.58 million to $26.90 million.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 43.47% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 44.93% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. In comparison to the other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, GENESIS ENERGY -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.

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