Buy These Top 4 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: MPW, VTR, UIL, PAA

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 4 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Medical Properties

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

Medical Properties (NYSE: MPW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

Medical Properties Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. It acquires, develops, and invests in healthcare facilities; and leases healthcare facilities to healthcare operating companies and healthcare providers. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.28.

The average volume for Medical Properties has been 1,285,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medical Properties has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 11.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Medical Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.7%. 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 $45.32 million or 49.63% when compared to the same quarter last year.
  • 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 where it was trading one year ago, MPW is up 17.28% to its most recent closing price of 13.30. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of a bull or bear market could certainly alter the outcome, our view is that this stock's positive fundamentals give it good potential for further appreciation.
  • MEDICAL PROPERTIES TRUST's earnings per share declined by 5.9% 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, MEDICAL PROPERTIES TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $0.56 versus $0.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.75 versus $0.56).

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

Ventas

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Ventas (NYSE: VTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Ventas, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, management, financing, and leasing of properties in the healthcare industry. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 36.89.

The average volume for Ventas has been 1,438,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ventas has a market cap of $17.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ventas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $327.74 million or 31.88% when compared to the same quarter last year.
  • The net income increased by 5.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $111.88 million to $118.30 million.
  • 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 where it was trading one year ago, VTR is down 7.09% to its most recent closing price of 59.76. Looking ahead, our view is that this company's fundamentals give it good potential for further appreciation.

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

UIL Holdings Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

UIL Holdings Corporation (NYSE: UIL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

UIL Holdings Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates in the regulated utility businesses. The company operates in three segments: Electric Distribution, Electric Transmission, and Gas Distribution. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.70.

The average volume for UIL Holdings Corporation has been 345,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. UIL Holdings Corporation has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 5.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates UIL Holdings Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to where it was trading one year ago, UIL is up 11.70% to its most recent closing price of 37.78. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of a bull or bear market could certainly alter the outcome, our view is that this stock's positive fundamentals give it good potential for further appreciation.
  • 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $33.74 million or 21.37% when compared to the same quarter last year.
  • UIL HOLDINGS CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from 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, UIL HOLDINGS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.02 versus $1.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.15 versus $2.02).
  • The net income has significantly decreased by 67.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $15.78 million to $5.16 million.

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

Plains All American Pipeline

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, terminalling, and marketing of crude oil and refined products in the United States and Canada. The company operates in three segments: Transportation, Facilities, and Supply and Logistics. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.63.

The average volume for Plains All American Pipeline has been 1,130,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Plains All American Pipeline has a market cap of $17.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 14.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Plains All American Pipeline as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity 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 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.4%. 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 40.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $165.00 million to $231.00 million.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, PLAINS ALL AMER PIPELNE -LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • 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, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.

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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