Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: AEP, UIL, KMI

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 which could 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."

American Electric Power

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

American Electric Power Company, Inc., a public utility holding company, is engaged in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity for sale to retail and wholesale customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.50.

The average volume for American Electric Power has been 2,653,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. American Electric Power has a market cap of $23.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 4.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Electric Power 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, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AEP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO increased its bottom line by earning $3.04 versus $2.60 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.33 versus $3.04).
  • 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 1547.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $21.00 million to $346.00 million.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,066.00 million or 19.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER CO's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 43.18%.

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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