Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 3: MTR, BKCC, TNH

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."

Mesa Royalty

Dividend Yield: 10.70%

Mesa Royalty (NYSE: MTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

Mesa Royalty Trust holds net overriding royalty interests in various oil and gas producing properties in the United States. It has interests in properties located in the Hugoton field of Kansas; the San Juan Basin field of New Mexico and Colorado; and the Yellow Creek field of Wyoming. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.11.

The average volume for Mesa Royalty has been 11,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mesa Royalty has a market cap of $59.2 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 46.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mesa Royalty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MTR has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.04, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MESA ROYALTY TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 32.02% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MTR should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The net income growth 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 increased by 13.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.83 million to $0.94 million.

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

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation

Dividend Yield: 9.60%

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: BKCC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.60%.

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation is a private equity firm specializing in investments in middle market companies. The firm invests in all industries. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.99.

The average volume for BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation has been 748,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation has a market cap of $650.3 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 6.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates BlackRock Kelso Capital Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations 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 gross profit margin for BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 59.66%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 77.50% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $52.83 million or 6.49% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 9.71%.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.0%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP's earnings per share declined by 25.6% 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, BLACKROCK KELSO CAPITAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.20 versus $0.78 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 31.1% in earnings ($0.83 versus $1.20).

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

Terra Nitrogen

Dividend Yield: 8.60%

Terra Nitrogen (NYSE: TNH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.60%.

Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. is engaged in the production and sale of nitrogen fertilizer products. It primarily offers anhydrous ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate solutions. Terra Nitrogen GP Inc. serves as the general partner of Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.91.

The average volume for Terra Nitrogen has been 21,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Terra Nitrogen has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Terra Nitrogen as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins 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:
  • TNH has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.87, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for TERRA NITROGEN CO -LP is rather high; currently it is at 64.77%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, TNH's net profit margin of 57.90% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 11.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 20.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, TERRA NITROGEN CO -LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 34.62%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 34.53% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp decline over the past year may have been what was needed in order to bring its value into alignment with its fundamentals and others in its industry.

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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