Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: PAA, ETP, EPR

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."

Plains All American Pipeline

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, terminalling, and marketing of crude oil and refined products in the United States and Canada. The company operates in three segments: Transportation, Facilities, and Supply and Logistics. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.48.

The average volume for Plains All American Pipeline has been 1,046,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Plains All American Pipeline has a market cap of $19.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Plains All American Pipeline as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.6%. 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.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, PLAINS ALL AMER PIPELNE -LP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • PAA's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88 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.
  • 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 3.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $320.00 million to $309.00 million.

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

Energy Transfer Partners L.P

Dividend Yield: 6.60%

Energy Transfer Partners L.P (NYSE: ETP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.60%.

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. engages in the natural gas midstream, and intrastate transportation and storage businesses in the United States.

The average volume for Energy Transfer Partners L.P has been 965,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Energy Transfer Partners L.P has a market cap of $17.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Energy Transfer Partners L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.6%. 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.
  • 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.
  • ENERGY TRANSFER PARTNERS -LP 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, ENERGY TRANSFER PARTNERS -LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.24 versus $5.76 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.47 versus -$0.24).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 276.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $307.00 million to -$541.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.43 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.

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

EPR Properties

Dividend Yield: 6.40%

EPR Properties (NYSE: EPR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.40%.

EPR Properties, a real estate investment trust (REIT), develops, owns, leases, and finances entertainment and related properties in the United States and Canada. Its properties include megaplex theatres, entertainment retail centers, and destination recreational and specialty properties. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.04.

The average volume for EPR Properties has been 317,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. EPR Properties has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 9.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates EPR Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EPR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 115.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $29.23 million to $63.04 million.
  • The gross profit margin for EPR PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 68.06%. Regardless of EPR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EPR's net profit margin of 70.37% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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.

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

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null

More from Markets

Earnings, Earnings and More Earnings - Your Midweek Update From Facebook to Ford

Earnings, Earnings and More Earnings - Your Midweek Update From Facebook to Ford

Veteran Foreign Affairs Expert Ian Bremmer Reveals How to Price Political Risk

Veteran Foreign Affairs Expert Ian Bremmer Reveals How to Price Political Risk

Facebook Stock Set for Biggest Gain in Two Years After Q1 Earnings Top Forecasts

Facebook Stock Set for Biggest Gain in Two Years After Q1 Earnings Top Forecasts

Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Ford - 5 Things You Must Know

Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Ford - 5 Things You Must Know

Let the Najarian Brothers Crash-Proof Portfolio

Let the Najarian Brothers Crash-Proof Portfolio