4 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: RGP, VTR, WPZ, HIW

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."

Regency Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.00%

Regency Energy Partners (NYSE: RGP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.00%.

Regency Energy Partners LP engages in gathering, treating, processing, compressing, and transporting natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The company operates in Gathering and Processing, Natural Gas Transportation, NGL Services, and Contract Services segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 227.17.

The average volume for Regency Energy Partners has been 585,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Regency Energy Partners has a market cap of $5.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 4.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Regency Energy Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. 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 came in higher than the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.2%. 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 2050.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$2.00 million to $39.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 136.25% to $186.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, REGENCY ENERGY PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -44.35%.
  • 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.
  • REGENCY ENERGY PARTNERS LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, REGENCY ENERGY PARTNERS LP reported lower earnings of $0.13 versus $0.29 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.30 versus $0.13).

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

Ventas

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Ventas (NYSE: VTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Ventas, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, management, financing, and leasing of properties in the healthcare industry. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.17.

The average volume for Ventas has been 1,744,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ventas has a market cap of $18.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ventas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.7%. 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 $327.74 million or 31.88% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.44%.
  • VENTAS INC has improved earnings per share by 10.3% 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, VENTAS INC reported lower earnings of $1.04 versus $1.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.59 versus $1.04).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 5.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $111.88 million to $118.30 million.

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

Williams Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.10%

Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.10%.

Williams Partners L.P., an energy infrastructure company, focuses on connecting North America's hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL). It operates in two segments, Gas Pipeline and Midstream Gas & Liquids. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.52.

The average volume for Williams Partners has been 635,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Williams Partners has a market cap of $22.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 1.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Partners 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 increased to $482.00 million or 33.14% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -44.35%.
  • 39.53% is the gross profit margin for WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of WPZ's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, WPZ's net profit margin of 17.59% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • WPZ, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 3.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $290.00 million to $279.00 million.
  • WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP has improved earnings per share by 36.8% 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, WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP reported lower earnings of $1.94 versus $3.68 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 12.4% in earnings ($1.70 versus $1.94).

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

Highwoods Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Highwoods Properties (NYSE: HIW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Highwoods Properties, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The trust engages in leasing, management, development, construction, and other customer-related services for its properties and for third parties. It invests in the real estate markets of United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.97.

The average volume for Highwoods Properties has been 636,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Highwoods Properties has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Highwoods Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HIW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES 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, HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.53 versus $0.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.30 versus $0.53).
  • 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 58.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $33.98 million to $53.98 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 55.70% to $69.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.44%.

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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