3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: COP, SCG, RDS.B

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."

ConocoPhillips

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.40.

The average volume for ConocoPhillips has been 4,909,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $79.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. 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:
  • 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 74.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1,426.00 million to $2,487.00 million.
  • 38.26% is the gross profit margin for CONOCOPHILLIPS which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 18.76% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $3,911.00 million or 1.05% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -48.26%.
  • 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.
  • COP, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 14.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing 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.

SCANA

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

SCANA (NYSE: SCG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

SCANA Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to retail and wholesale customers in South Carolina. It owns nuclear, coal, hydro, oil and gas, and biomass generating facilities. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.56.

The average volume for SCANA has been 813,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. SCANA has a market cap of $6.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 0.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates SCANA as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity and increase in net income. 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 greatly exceeded the industry average of 31.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • SCANA CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, SCANA CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.14 versus $2.99 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.41 versus $3.14).
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SCANA CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 7.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $122.00 million to $131.00 million.

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

Royal Dutch Shell

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.B) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.26.

The average volume for Royal Dutch Shell has been 1,105,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $231.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • RDS.B's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.25 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.79 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC reported lower earnings of $5.18 versus $8.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($14.49 versus $5.18).
  • RDS.B, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • In its most recent trading session, RDS.B 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.

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