3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: ED, EEP, PPL

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."

Consolidated Edison

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. is engaged in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.39.

The average volume for Consolidated Edison has been 2,023,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Consolidated Edison has a market cap of $16.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 0.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Consolidated Edison as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 greatly exceeded the industry average of 14.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multi-Utilities industry. The net income increased by 88.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $192.00 million to $361.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 366.66% to $224.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -60.82%.
  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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