3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: MMLP, PFLT, SJT

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."

Martin Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.80%

Martin Midstream Partners (NASDAQ: MMLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

Martin Midstream Partners L.P. collects, transports, stores, and markets petroleum products and by-products in the United States Gulf Coast region.

The average volume for Martin Midstream Partners has been 123,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Martin Midstream Partners has a market cap of $1.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 5.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Martin Midstream Partners 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 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.6%. 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.
  • MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 29.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.49 versus $1.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.60 versus -$0.49).
  • In its most recent trading session, MMLP has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 29.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $16.64 million to $11.80 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.51 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, MMLP maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.94, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.

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

PennantPark Floating Rate Capital

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (NASDAQ: PFLT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

PennantPark Floating Rate Capital Ltd. is a business development company. It seeks to make secondary direct, debt, equity, and loan investments. The fund seeks to invest through floating rate loans in private or thinly traded or small market-cap, public middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.75.

The average volume for PennantPark Floating Rate Capital has been 66,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. PennantPark Floating Rate Capital has a market cap of $207.7 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates PennantPark Floating Rate Capital as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins 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:
  • PFLT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 84.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 125.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.21 million to $7.24 million.
  • The gross profit margin for PENNANTPARK FLOATING RT CAP is rather high; currently it is at 61.50%. Regardless of PFLT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PFLT's net profit margin of 94.93% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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, PENNANTPARK FLOATING RT CAP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • PENNANTPARK FLOATING RT CAP has improved earnings per share by 8.9% 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, PENNANTPARK FLOATING RT CAP reported lower earnings of $1.30 versus $1.75 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 18.8% in earnings ($1.06 versus $1.30).

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

San Juan Basin Royalty

Dividend Yield: 8.70%

San Juan Basin Royalty (NYSE: SJT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.70%.

San Juan Basin Royalty Trust operates as an express trust. The company has a 75% net overriding royalty interest carved out of Burlington's oil and gas leasehold interests (the underlying properties) in properties located in the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.13.

The average volume for San Juan Basin Royalty has been 80,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. San Juan Basin Royalty has a market cap of $900.5 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 17.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates San Juan Basin Royalty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and compelling growth 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:
  • SJT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 295.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • SJT 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 2.84, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, SAN JUAN BASIN ROYALTY TR's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 314.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.40 million to $14.09 million.

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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