Best 3 Yielding Buy-Rated Stocks: DRI, COP, MAT

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."

Darden Restaurants

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. owns and operates full service restaurants in the United States and Canada. It operates restaurants under the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Eddie V's Prime Seafood, and Wildfish Seafood Grille brand names. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.00.

The average volume for Darden Restaurants has been 1,610,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Darden Restaurants has a market cap of $6.4 billion and is part of the leisure industry. Shares are down 9.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Darden Restaurants 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, 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 somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DRI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.6%. 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 significantly increased by 505.63% to $86.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -106.62%.
  • 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.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market, DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC's return on equity exceeds 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.

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 5,127,200 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 8.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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. In addition, CONOCOPHILLIPS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -50.31%.
  • 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 2.4%. 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.

Mattel

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Mattel, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets various toy products. The company operates in three segments: North America, International, and American Girl. Its products comprise fashion dolls and accessories, vehicles and play sets, and games and puzzles. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.27.

The average volume for Mattel has been 3,581,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mattel has a market cap of $11.9 billion and is part of the consumer durables industry. Shares are down 25.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mattel as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, notable return on equity 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:
  • MATTEL INC has improved earnings per share by 23.0% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MATTEL INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.60 versus $2.21 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.63 versus $2.60).
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.49, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MAT has a quick ratio of 2.20, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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. In comparison to other companies in the Leisure Equipment & Products industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MATTEL INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for MATTEL INC is rather high; currently it is at 54.46%. Regardless of MAT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MAT's net profit margin of 17.47% compares favorably 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.

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