Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: LO, GEO, CLMT

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."

Lorillard

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Lorillard (NYSE: LO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

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 15.72.

The average volume for Lorillard has been 2,975,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lorillard has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are down 1.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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 and expanding profit margins. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.5%. 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.
  • LORILLARD INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, 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 ($3.17 versus $2.81).
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for LORILLARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 51.83%. Regardless of LO'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 19.69% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $553.00 million or 4.32% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

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

Geo Group

Dividend Yield: 6.90%

Geo Group (NYSE: GEO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.90%.

The GEO Group, Inc. provides government-outsourced services specializing in the management of correctional, detention, and re-entry facilities, and the provision of community based services and youth services in the United States, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.42.

The average volume for Geo Group has been 616,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Geo Group has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 0.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Geo Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 91.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $15.62 million to $29.90 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, GEO GROUP INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and 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. 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.

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

Calumet Specialty Products Partners

Dividend Yield: 10.00%

Calumet Specialty Products Partners (NASDAQ: CLMT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.00%.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. produces and sells specialty hydrocarbon and fuel products in North America. It operates in two segments, Specialty Products and Fuel Products. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.86.

The average volume for Calumet Specialty Products Partners has been 512,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Calumet Specialty Products Partners has a market cap of $1.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 7.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Calumet Specialty Products Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.6%. 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.
  • CLMT's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.79 is weak.
  • CALUMET SPECIALTY PRODS -LP 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, CALUMET SPECIALTY PRODS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $3.53 versus $0.89 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 91.9% in earnings ($0.29 versus $3.53).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 182.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $42.42 million to -$34.80 million.
  • The share price of CALUMET SPECIALTY PRODS -LP has not done very well: it is down 14.47% 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. Despite the stock's decline during the last year, it is still somewhat more expensive (in proportion to its earnings over the last year) than most other stocks in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays offset this slight negative.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null