Buy These Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: AI, MMLP, FDUS

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."

Arlington Asset Investment

Dividend Yield: 12.90%

Arlington Asset Investment (NYSE: AI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.90%.

Arlington Asset Investment Corp., an investment firm, acquires mortgage-related and other assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.40.

The average volume for Arlington Asset Investment has been 242,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Arlington Asset Investment has a market cap of $522.6 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 3.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Arlington Asset Investment as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, increase in net income, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AI's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 274.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for ARLINGTON ASSET INVESTMENT is currently very high, coming in at 76.86%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.16% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • 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 121.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.18 million to $7.03 million.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.
  • ARLINGTON ASSET INVESTMENT 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, ARLINGTON ASSET INVESTMENT reported lower earnings of $2.96 versus $15.11 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.16 versus $2.96).

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

Martin Midstream Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

Martin Midstream Partners (NASDAQ: MMLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

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 135,200 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 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Martin Midstream Partners as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. 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 3.2%. 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).
  • The share price of MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP has not done very well: it is down 5.37% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.
  • 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.

Fidus Investment

Dividend Yield: 7.40%

Fidus Investment (NASDAQ: FDUS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.40%.

Fidus Investment Corporation operates as an externally managed, closed-end, and non-diversified management investment company. The company provides customized debt and equity financing solutions to lower middle-market companies in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.76.

The average volume for Fidus Investment has been 94,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Fidus Investment has a market cap of $281.4 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Fidus Investment as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity 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 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.6%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for FIDUS INVESTMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 68.33%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 31.99% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 72.18% to -$4.76 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIDUS INVESTMENT CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 14.98%.
  • 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, FIDUS INVESTMENT CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.

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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