Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 5 Companies: PBCT, PSEC, SO, OHI, PPL

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

People's United Financial

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

People's United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

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 21.12.

The average volume for People's United Financial has been 2,903,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. People's United Financial has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 3.1% 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 increase in stock price during the past year, 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 5.5% 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, 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 ($0.75 versus $0.72).
  • The gross profit margin for PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC is currently very high, coming in at 87.86%. 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, PBCT's net profit margin of 17.40% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 102.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.6%. 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.

Prospect Capital Corporation

Dividend Yield: 11.80%

Prospect Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: PSEC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.80%.

Prospect Capital Corporation is a business development company. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.29.

The average volume for Prospect Capital Corporation has been 2,870,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Prospect Capital Corporation has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prospect Capital Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 8.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 30.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 69.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $47.25 million to $79.90 million.
  • The gross profit margin for PROSPECT CAPITAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 68.15%. Regardless of PSEC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PSEC's net profit margin of 49.61% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 50.05% to -$245.45 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 50.05%, PROSPECT CAPITAL CORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 273.60%.

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

Southern

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

Southern (NYSE: SO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.96.

The average volume for Southern has been 5,794,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Southern has a market cap of $35.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $2,464.00 million or 7.73% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SOUTHERN CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 4.41%.
  • SOUTHERN CO's earnings per share declined by 12.6% 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, SOUTHERN CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.67 versus $2.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.68 versus $2.67).
  • 42.28% is the gross profit margin for SOUTHERN CO which we consider to be strong. Regardless of SO's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SO's net profit margin of 17.32% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • SO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.17, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Electric Utilities industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.40 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.

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

Omega Healthcare Investors

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. is a real estate investment firm. The firm invests in the real estate markets of United States. It invests in healthcare facilities, primarily in long-term healthcare facilities in order to create its portfolio. Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.89.

The average volume for Omega Healthcare Investors has been 1,097,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Omega Healthcare Investors has a market cap of $3.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Omega Healthcare Investors as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income 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:
  • OHI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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.
  • OMEGA HEALTHCARE INVS INC has improved earnings per share by 18.5% 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, OMEGA HEALTHCARE INVS INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.11 versus $0.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.41 versus $1.11).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 26.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $30.12 million to $38.14 million.
  • The gross profit margin for OMEGA HEALTHCARE INVS INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.30%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 36.91% 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.

PPL

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

PPL (NYSE: PPL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to wholesale and retail customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company operates in four segments: Kentucky Regulated, U.K. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.86.

The average volume for PPL has been 4,090,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. PPL has a market cap of $18.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPL 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, attractive valuation levels 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 2.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 30.1%. 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 $1,276.00 million or 11.24% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PPL CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 4.41%.
  • 37.43% is the gross profit margin for PPL CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of PPL'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 13.11% trails the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 15.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $355.00 million to $410.00 million.

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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