Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 5 Companies: KIM, DUK, BPL, MWE, PBCT

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."

Kimco Realty

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Kimco Realty Corporation is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets across North America. It is primarily engaged in acquisitions, development, and management of neighborhood and community shopping centers. The company has a P/E ratio of 44.53.

The average volume for Kimco Realty has been 3,252,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Kimco Realty has a market cap of $8.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kimco Realty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins 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:
  • KIMCO REALTY 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KIMCO REALTY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.46 versus $0.27 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.50 versus $0.46).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 40.83% is the gross profit margin for KIMCO REALTY CORP 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 21.47% trails the industry average.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, KIMCO REALTY CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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

Duke Energy Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Duke Energy Corporation operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. The company operates in three segments: U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas, Commercial Power, and International Energy. The U.S. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.89.

The average volume for Duke Energy Corporation has been 3,115,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $49.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and attractive valuation levels. 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 net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 69.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $594.00 million to $1,004.00 million.
  • 38.00% is the gross profit margin for DUKE ENERGY CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.02% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $2,147.00 million or 8.59% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, DUKE ENERGY CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 20.96%.
  • DUKE ENERGY CORP 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $3.06 versus $3.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.31 versus $3.06).
  • DUK, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing 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.

Buckeye Partners L.P

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

Buckeye Partners L.P (NYSE: BPL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

Buckeye Partners, L.P. owns and operates refined petroleum products pipeline systems in the United States. Its Pipelines & Terminals segment transports refined petroleum products; and provides bulk storage and terminal throughput services in the continental United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.61.

The average volume for Buckeye Partners L.P has been 303,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Buckeye Partners L.P has a market cap of $8.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Buckeye Partners L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and solid stock price performance. 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 came in higher than the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.7%. 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.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, BPL's share price has jumped by 37.14%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • BUCKEYE PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 17.2% 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, BUCKEYE PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.31 versus $1.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.16 versus $2.31).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has 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 9.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $85.12 million to $77.25 million.
  • The gross profit margin for BUCKEYE PARTNERS LP is rather low; currently it is at 15.46%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 7.09% is above that of 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.

MarkWest Energy Partners

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

MarkWest Energy Partners (NYSE: MWE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

Markwest Energy Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 141.37.

The average volume for MarkWest Energy Partners has been 867,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. MarkWest Energy Partners has a market cap of $10.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates MarkWest Energy Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 49.9%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $153.06 million or 14.84% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -48.26%.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, MWE's share price has jumped by 26.83%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 30.8% 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, MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.70 versus $0.80 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 69.4% in earnings ($0.52 versus $1.70).
  • MWE's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that MWE's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.61 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.

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

People's United Financial

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

People's United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

People's United Financial, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for People's United Bank that provides commercial banking, retail and business banking, and wealth management services to individual, corporate, and municipal customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.13.

The average volume for People's United Financial has been 4,078,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. People's United Financial has a market cap of $4.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 7.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates People's United Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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:
  • PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC has improved earnings per share by 5.5% 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, PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.74 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.85 versus $0.74).
  • The gross profit margin for PEOPLE'S UNITED FINL INC is currently very high, coming in at 88.46%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, PBCT's net profit margin of 17.77% significantly trails the industry average.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. 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.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 99.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing 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.

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