Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: NYCB, MO, HTGC

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."

New York Community Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 6.30%

New York Community Bancorp (NYSE: NYCB) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.30%.

New York Community Bancorp, Inc. operates as a multi-bank holding company for New York Community Bank and New York Commercial Bank that offer banking products and financial services in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.76.

The average volume for New York Community Bancorp has been 2,525,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. New York Community Bancorp has a market cap of $7.0 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 5.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates New York Community Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. 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 NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 74.25%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 25.46% is above that of the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • NYCB, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.3%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NEW YORK CMNTY BANCORP INC reported lower earnings of $1.08 versus $1.14 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.8% in earnings ($1.05 versus $1.08).

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

Altria Group

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.16.

The average volume for Altria Group has been 7,177,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Altria Group has a market cap of $82.2 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 8.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Altria Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.9%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,125.00 million or 18.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ALTRIA GROUP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -31.77%.
  • ALTRIA GROUP INC's earnings per share declined by 14.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ALTRIA GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.26 versus $2.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.57 versus $2.26).
  • The gross profit margin for ALTRIA GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 57.41%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MO's net profit margin of 29.31% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

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

Hercules Technology Growth Capital

Dividend Yield: 7.90%

Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NYSE: HTGC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.90%.

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. is a private equity, venture capital, and venture debt firm specializing in providing debt and equity to privately held venture capital and private equity backed companies and select publicly-traded companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.32.

The average volume for Hercules Technology Growth Capital has been 675,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hercules Technology Growth Capital has a market cap of $979.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 4.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hercules Technology Growth Capital as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry and the overall market, HERCULES TECH GROWTH CAP INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Capital Markets industry average. The net income increased by 32.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $16.69 million to $22.19 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 175.12% to $35.85 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HERCULES TECH GROWTH CAP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 11.10%.

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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