3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: PBCT, MMP, CXW

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."

People's United Financial

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

People's United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

People's United Financial, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for People's United Bank that provides commercial banking, retail and business banking, and wealth management services to individual, corporate, and municipal customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.36.

The average volume for People's United Financial has been 3,299,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. People's United Financial has a market cap of $4.7 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 20.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates People's United Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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.
  • PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC has improved earnings per share by 5.3% 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, PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.72 versus $0.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.78 versus $0.72).
  • The gross profit margin for PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC is currently very high, coming in at 88.58%. Regardless of PBCT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 18.47% trails the industry average.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 111.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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

Magellan Midstream Partners L.P

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Magellan Midstream Partners L.P (NYSE: MMP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. engages in the transportation, storage, and distribution of petroleum products in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.78.

The average volume for Magellan Midstream Partners L.P has been 507,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Magellan Midstream Partners L.P has a market cap of $11.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 25% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Magellan Midstream Partners L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, 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:
  • MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP has improved earnings per share by 11.5% 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, MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.93 versus $1.83 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.50 versus $1.93).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 11.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $137.82 million to $153.64 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP is rather high; currently it is at 56.58%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 34.61% significantly outperformed against 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 other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PRTNRS LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • 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. 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.

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

Corrections Corporation of America

Dividend Yield: 5.60%

Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE: CXW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.60%.

Corrections Corporation of America, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates privatized correctional and detention facilities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.23.

The average volume for Corrections Corporation of America has been 1,305,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Corrections Corporation of America has a market cap of $3.9 billion and is part of the diversified services industry. Shares are down 1.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Corrections Corporation of America as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $86.00 million or 39.37% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 5.48%.
  • CORRECTIONS CORP AMER's earnings per share declined by 48.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER increased its bottom line by earning $1.56 versus $1.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.97 versus $1.56).
  • CXW, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • In its most recent trading session, CXW 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.

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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