Buy These Top 4 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: NYCB, AEP, GLNG, UIL

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."

New York Community Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 6.10%

New York Community Bancorp (NYSE: NYCB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.10%.

New York Community Bancorp, Inc. operates as a multi-bank holding company for New York Community Bank and New York Commercial Bank that offer banking products and financial services in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.34.

The average volume for New York Community Bancorp has been 2,373,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. New York Community Bancorp has a market cap of $7.2 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 24.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates New York Community Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 371.40% to $669.88 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 40.11%.
  • The gross profit margin for NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC is rather high; currently it is at 69.08%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, NYCB's net profit margin of 23.87% significantly trails the industry average.
  • NYCB's share price has surged by 29.39% over the past year, reflecting the market's general trend, despite their weak earnings growth during the last quarter. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, NYCB should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 100.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.8%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC's earnings per share declined by 10.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. 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 YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.14 versus $1.09 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 6.1% in earnings ($1.07 versus $1.14).

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

American Electric Power

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power to retail customers. The company generates electricity using coal and lignite, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.69.

The average volume for American Electric Power has been 3,653,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Electric Power has a market cap of $22.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 9.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and attractive valuation levels. 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 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.5%. 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 $1,524.00 million or 27.10% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 1.02%.
  • 35.11% is the gross profit margin for AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.36% trails the industry average.
  • 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. 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.
  • AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO's earnings per share declined by 11.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO reported lower earnings of $2.60 versus $3.24 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.20 versus $2.60).

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

Golar LNG

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

Golar LNG (NASDAQ: GLNG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

Golar LNG Limited, a midstream liquefied natural gas (LNG) company, engages in the transportation, regasification and liquefaction, and trading of LNG. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.08.

The average volume for Golar LNG has been 586,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Golar LNG has a market cap of $2.9 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 2.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Golar LNG as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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:
  • GLNG's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, GOLAR LNG LTD's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • GLNG, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 85.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • GOLAR LNG LTD 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. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GOLAR LNG LTD increased its bottom line by earning $11.66 versus $0.61 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 94.1% in earnings ($0.69 versus $11.66).
  • The share price of GOLAR LNG LTD has not done very well: it is down 7.23% 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.

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 18.49.

The average volume for UIL Holdings Corporation has been 349,300 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 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, UIL HOLDINGS CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • UIL, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.9%. 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.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.64 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.39, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

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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