Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 5 Companies: GLNG, NNN, GAS, SSS, ORI

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."

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 648,300 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 up 0.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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 5.6%. 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 96.5% in earnings ($0.41 versus $11.66).
  • The share price of GOLAR LNG LTD has not done very well: it is down 5.22% 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.

National Retail Properties

Dividend Yield: 5.30%

National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.30%.

National Retail Properties, Inc. is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust. The firm acquires, owns, manages, and develops retail properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.49.

The average volume for National Retail Properties has been 1,252,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Retail Properties has a market cap of $3.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Retail Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, 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:
  • NNN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.4%. 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 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 16.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $38.02 million to $44.35 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $90.89 million or 26.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.56%.
  • The gross profit margin for NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 62.68%. Regardless of NNN's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NNN's net profit margin of 43.76% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES's earnings per share declined by 12.5% 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, NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES increased its bottom line by earning $1.03 versus $0.90 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.09 versus $1.03).

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

AGL Resources

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

AGL Resources Inc., an energy services holding company, distributes natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.97.

The average volume for AGL Resources has been 646,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. AGL Resources has a market cap of $5.5 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 0.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AGL Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AGL RESOURCES 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AGL RESOURCES INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.31 versus $2.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.80 versus $2.31).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry. The net income increased by 211.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $9.00 million to $28.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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.

Sovran Self Storage

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Sovran Self Storage (NYSE: SSS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Sovran Self Storage, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT). It engages in the acquisition, ownership, and management of self-storage properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.05.

The average volume for Sovran Self Storage has been 167,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Sovran Self Storage has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sovran Self Storage as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SSS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • SOVRAN SELF STORAGE INC has improved earnings per share by 31.9% 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, SOVRAN SELF STORAGE INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.64 versus $0.98 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.29 versus $1.64).
  • 38.74% is the gross profit margin for SOVRAN SELF STORAGE INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 27.49% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $36.46 million or 26.52% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.56%.
  • In its most recent trading session, SSS has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. 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.

Old Republic International

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

Old Republic International (NYSE: ORI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

Old Republic International Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in underwriting insurance products primarily in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.65.

The average volume for Old Republic International has been 1,470,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Old Republic International has a market cap of $4.4 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Old Republic International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • ORI's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 700.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 47.86% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • OLD REPUBLIC INTL CORP 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, OLD REPUBLIC INTL CORP continued to lose money by earning -$0.27 versus -$0.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.10 versus -$0.27).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 790.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$14.90 million to $102.90 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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