Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks In The Top 3: TAXI, SPH, LGCY

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: 8.30%

Medallion Financial (NASDAQ: TAXI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

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 10.25.

The average volume for Medallion Financial has been 261,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medallion Financial has a market cap of $291.4 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 18.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 59.25%. 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 16.13% 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.

Suburban Propane Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.50%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.50%.

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P., through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the retail marketing and distribution of propane, fuel oil, and refined fuels. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.87.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 169,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Suburban Propane Partners has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Suburban Propane Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP has improved earnings per share by 9.3% 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, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.44 versus $0.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.11 versus $1.44).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 36.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 28.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.05, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Gas Utilities industry. Despite the fact that SPH's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.79 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 15.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $129.49 million to $149.55 million.

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

Legacy Reserves

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ: LGCY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

Legacy Reserves LP owns and operates oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The average volume for Legacy Reserves has been 231,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Legacy Reserves has a market cap of $1.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 11% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Legacy Reserves as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 107.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$6.71 million to $0.53 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $60.17 million or 8.44% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, LEGACY RESERVES LP's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 17.51%.
  • LEGACY RESERVES LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, LEGACY RESERVES LP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.62 versus $1.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.85 versus -$0.62).

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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