3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: PEG, APU, KMP

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."

Public Service Enterprise Group

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company primarily in the northeastern and mid Atlantic United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.61.

The average volume for Public Service Enterprise Group has been 4,021,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Public Service Enterprise Group has a market cap of $15.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Public Service Enterprise Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PEG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 40.13% is the gross profit margin for PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC 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 15.27% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,092.00 million or 17.04% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 26.84%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.75, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.47 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

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

AmeriGas Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.90%

AmeriGas Partners (NYSE: APU) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.90%.

AmeriGas Partners, L.P. operates as a retail and wholesale distributor of propane gas, and related equipment and supplies in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.88.

The average volume for AmeriGas Partners has been 306,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. AmeriGas Partners has a market cap of $3.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AmeriGas Partners 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, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP has improved earnings per share by 26.7% 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, AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP turned its bottom line around by earning $1.43 versus -$0.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.77 versus $1.43).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Gas Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 28.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$76.00 million to -$54.06 million.
  • APU's revenue growth trails the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. 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 Gas Utilities industry and the overall market, AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 45.29% is the gross profit margin for AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of APU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, APU's net profit margin of -10.16% significantly underperformed when compared to 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.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 6.70%

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.70%.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. operates as a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.36.

The average volume for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has been 1,010,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has a market cap of $25.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kinder Morgan Energy Partners 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, 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 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 35.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • KINDER MORGAN ENERGY -LP 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KINDER MORGAN ENERGY -LP turned its bottom line around by earning $1.64 versus -$0.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.34 versus $1.64).
  • 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 70.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $405.00 million to $689.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $956.00 million or 18.02% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 2.81%.
  • 39.07% is the gross profit margin for KINDER MORGAN ENERGY -LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of KMP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, KMP's net profit margin of 20.37% significantly outperformed against the industry.

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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