Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 5: ED, APU, GLNG, PDLI, NNN

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."

Consolidated Edison

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Consolidated Edison, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.39.

The average volume for Consolidated Edison has been 2,044,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Edison has a market cap of $15.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 2.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Edison 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 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 1.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC has improved earnings per share by 6.0% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.86 versus $3.57 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.8% in earnings ($3.75 versus $3.86).
  • 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 5.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $440.00 million to $464.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 31.95%. Regardless of ED's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 13.31% trails 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.

AmeriGas Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.10%

AmeriGas Partners (NYSE: APU) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.10%.

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 17.70.

The average volume for AmeriGas Partners has been 378,700 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 5.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates AmeriGas Partners 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 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:
  • APU's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 17.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP has improved earnings per share by 22.6% 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 ($2.80 versus $1.43).
  • 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 39.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $96.67 million to $134.90 million.
  • 39.28% 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 12.89% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • APU has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 5.53% from its price level of one year ago. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.

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

Golar LNG

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Golar LNG (NASDAQ: GLNG) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

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 3.05.

The average volume for Golar LNG has been 784,900 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 down 2.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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 1.9%. 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 96.6% in earnings ($0.40 versus $11.66).
  • The share price of GOLAR LNG LTD has not done very well: it is down 13.87% 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.

PDL BioPharma

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

PDL BioPharma (NASDAQ: PDLI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

PDL BioPharma, Inc. engages in intellectual property asset management and patent portfolio and related assets investment activities. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.99.

The average volume for PDL BioPharma has been 2,785,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. PDL BioPharma has a market cap of $1.2 billion and is part of the drugs industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PDL BioPharma as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, 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 generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to other companies in the Biotechnology industry and the overall market, PDL BIOPHARMA INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • PDLI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.2%. 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.
  • PDL BIOPHARMA INC has improved earnings per share by 12.5% 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, PDL BIOPHARMA INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.47 versus $1.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.75 versus $1.47).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $45.83 million or 27.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PDL BIOPHARMA INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -38.82%.

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: 5.00%

National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

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 32.25.

The average volume for National Retail Properties has been 1,029,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Retail Properties has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 6.8%. 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. In addition, NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -56.67%.
  • 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.

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