Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 3: O, BCE, VZ

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."

Realty Income

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

Realty Income (NYSE: O) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

Realty Income Corporation is a publicly traded real estate investment trust. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The firm makes investments in commercial real estate. Realty Income Corporation was founded in 1969 and is based in Escondido, California. The company has a P/E ratio of 55.29.

The average volume for Realty Income has been 2,436,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Realty Income has a market cap of $9.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 16.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Realty Income as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • REALTY INCOME CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, REALTY INCOME CORP reported lower earnings of $0.71 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.89 versus $0.71).
  • 48.05% is the gross profit margin for REALTY INCOME CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of O's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, O's net profit margin of 26.02% compares favorably to 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. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, REALTY INCOME CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • O has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 20.40% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.

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

BCE

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

BCE (NYSE: BCE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

BCE Inc., a communications company, provides broadband communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. The company operates through four segments: Bell Wireline, Bell Wireless, Bell Media, and Bell Aliant. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.43.

The average volume for BCE has been 648,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. BCE has a market cap of $35.5 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 5.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates BCE as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BCE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 48.38% is the gross profit margin for BCE INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of BCE's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BCE's net profit margin of 12.70% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • BCE INC has improved earnings per share by 8.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BCE INC reported lower earnings of $2.54 versus $3.17 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 8.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $599.00 million to $648.00 million.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.30, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.46 is very low and demonstrates very 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.

Verizon Communications

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Verizon Communications Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.88.

The average volume for Verizon Communications has been 41,935,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Verizon Communications has a market cap of $201.5 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, compelling growth in net income and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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:
  • VZ's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 63.69%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 12.80% is above that of the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 102.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1,952.00 million to $3,947.00 million.
  • VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.00 versus $0.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 12.3% in earnings ($3.51 versus $4.00).

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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