3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: CMLP, TCRD, NMFC

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."

Crestwood Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

Crestwood Midstream Partners (NYSE: CMLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

Crestwood Midstream Partners LP primarily engages in the gathering, processing, treating, compressing, transporting, and selling natural gas in the United States. The company operates in four segments: Barnett, Fayetteville, Granite Wash, and Marcellus. The company has a P/E ratio of 113.09.

The average volume for Crestwood Midstream Partners has been 120,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Crestwood Midstream Partners has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 15.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Crestwood Midstream Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 28.7%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $23.50 million or 35.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CRESTWOOD MIDSTREAM PTNRS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -15.63%.
  • 47.95% is the gross profit margin for CRESTWOOD MIDSTREAM PTNRS LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of CMLP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, CMLP's net profit margin of 6.84% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • CRESTWOOD MIDSTREAM PTNRS LP 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, CRESTWOOD MIDSTREAM PTNRS LP reported lower earnings of $0.37 versus $1.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.44 versus $0.37).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 28.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $6.80 million to $4.87 million.

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

THL Credit

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

THL Credit (NASDAQ: TCRD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

THL Credit, Inc. is a business development company specializing in direct and fund of fund investments. The fund seeks to invest in debt and equity securities of middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.22.

The average volume for THL Credit has been 304,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. THL Credit has a market cap of $530.3 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 5.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates THL Credit as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • TCRD's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 92.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • THL CREDIT INC 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, THL CREDIT INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.26 versus $1.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.41 versus $1.26).
  • 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 161.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $5.97 million to $15.62 million.
  • The gross profit margin for THL CREDIT INC is rather high; currently it is at 68.10%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 68.87% significantly outperformed against 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.

New Mountain Finance

Dividend Yield: 9.40%

New Mountain Finance (NYSE: NMFC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.40%.

New Mountain Finance Corporation operates as a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.63.

The average volume for New Mountain Finance has been 287,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. New Mountain Finance has a market cap of $551.2 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates New Mountain Finance as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NMFC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 73.2%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP is currently very high, coming in at 75.84%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 42.16% 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. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.20 versus $1.02 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 30.9% in earnings ($1.52 versus $2.20).

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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