What To Buy: Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: TAXI, CNSL, GBDC

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."

Medallion Financial

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Medallion Financial (NASDAQ: TAXI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Medallion Financial Corp., through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty finance company in the United States. The company is engaged in originating, acquiring, and servicing loans that finance taxicab medallions and various types of commercial businesses. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.80.

The average volume for Medallion Financial has been 207,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medallion Financial has a market cap of $334.7 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Medallion Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.0%. 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 gross profit margin for MEDALLION FINANCIAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 58.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 73.33% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Capital Markets industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 4.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $6.47 million to $6.77 million.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, TAXI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 13.19% 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.
  • MEDALLION FINANCIAL CORP's earnings per share declined by 10.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MEDALLION FINANCIAL CORP reported lower earnings of $1.16 versus $1.21 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.6% in earnings ($1.13 versus $1.16).

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

Consolidated Communications

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ: CNSL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides a range of communications services to residential and business clients in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Kansas, and Missouri. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.55.

The average volume for Consolidated Communications has been 229,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Communications has a market cap of $813.0 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 2.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Communications as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC has improved earnings per share by 17.6% 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, CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.74 versus $0.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.89 versus $0.74).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $48.39 million or 33.71% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -8.14%.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • 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 on the basis of return on equity, CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CONSOLIDATED COMM HLDGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 63.05%. Regardless of CNSL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.56% trails 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.

Golub Capital BDC

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Golub Capital BDC (NASDAQ: GBDC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Golub Capital BDC, Inc. is a business development company and operates as an externally managed closed-end non-diversified management investment company. It invests in debt and minority equity investments in middle-market companies that are, in most cases, sponsored by private equity investors. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.42.

The average volume for Golub Capital BDC has been 361,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Golub Capital BDC has a market cap of $788.6 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 12.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Golub Capital BDC as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 25.7%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for GOLUB CAPITAL BDC INC is currently very high, coming in at 70.83%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 55.77% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Capital Markets industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 15.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $12.25 million to $14.09 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. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, GOLUB CAPITAL BDC INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • GOLUB CAPITAL BDC INC's earnings per share declined by 15.8% 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, GOLUB CAPITAL BDC INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.36 versus $1.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 8.8% in earnings ($1.24 versus $1.36).

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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