What To Buy: Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: SPH, TAXI, HGT

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."

Suburban Propane Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.60%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.60%.

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 30.34.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 166,700 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 2% 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 and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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 35.9%. 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 net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of 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.
  • The gross profit margin for SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 25.92%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 17.11% is above that of the industry average.

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

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 10.21.

The average volume for Medallion Financial has been 369,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medallion Financial has a market cap of $290.4 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 19.3% 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 5.1%. 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 S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry average. 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 20.74% 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.

Hugoton Royalty

Dividend Yield: 11.10%

Hugoton Royalty (NYSE: HGT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 11.10%.

Hugoton Royalty Trust operates as an express trust in the United States. The company holds an 80% net profits interests in certain natural gas producing working interest properties of XTO Energy Inc. XTO Energy Inc. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.06.

The average volume for Hugoton Royalty has been 377,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Hugoton Royalty has a market cap of $410.0 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 36.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hugoton 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, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 3.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.2%. 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.
  • HGT 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.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, HUGOTON ROYALTY TRUST's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for HUGOTON ROYALTY TRUST is currently very high, coming in at 100.00%. HGT has managed to maintain the strong profit margin since the same quarter of last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HGT's net profit margin of 82.34% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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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