Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: BCE, GOV, 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."

BCE

Dividend Yield: 5.00%

BCE (NYSE: BCE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

BCE Inc., a communications company, provides broadband communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. The company operates through four segments: Bell Wireline, Bell Wireless, Bell Media, and Bell Aliant. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.17.

The average volume for BCE has been 561,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. BCE has a market cap of $35.0 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are up 5.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BCE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 48.38% is the gross profit margin for BCE INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of BCE's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BCE's net profit margin of 12.70% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • BCE INC has improved earnings per share by 8.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BCE INC reported lower earnings of $2.54 versus $3.17 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 8.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $599.00 million to $648.00 million.
  • The stock price has risen over the past year, but, despite its earnings growth and some other positive factors, it has underperformed the S&P 500 so far. 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.

Government Properties Income

Dividend Yield: 6.80%

Government Properties Income (NYSE: GOV) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.80%.

Government Properties Income Trust operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. It primarily owns and leases office buildings that are leased mainly to government tenants. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.73.

The average volume for Government Properties Income has been 374,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Government Properties Income has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Government Properties Income as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, 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 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.0%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $31.07 million or 4.78% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, GOVERNMENT PPTYS INCOME TR's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 30.73%.
  • GOVERNMENT PPTYS INCOME TR's earnings per share declined by 23.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Stable earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. We anticipate these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GOVERNMENT PPTYS INCOME TR increased its bottom line by earning $1.02 versus $1.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.03 versus $1.02).
  • 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, GOVERNMENT PPTYS INCOME TR's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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: 7.80%

Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NYSE: HTGC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.80%.

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. is a private equity, venture capital, and venture debt firm specializing in providing capital to privately held venture capital and private equity backed companies and select publicly-traded companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.50.

The average volume for Hercules Technology Growth Capital has been 650,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hercules Technology Growth Capital has a market cap of $999.2 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 1.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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 5.2%. 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 14.98%.

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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