3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: MTR, LOAN, GBDC

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."

Mesa Royalty

Dividend Yield: 9.80%

Mesa Royalty (NYSE: MTR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.80%.

Mesa Royalty Trust holds net overriding royalty interests in various oil and gas properties in the United States. It has interests in properties located in the Hugoton field of Kansas; the San Juan Basin field of New Mexico and Colorado; and the Yellow Creek field of Wyoming. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.63.

The average volume for Mesa Royalty has been 16,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Mesa Royalty has a market cap of $50.0 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 24.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Mesa Royalty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. 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 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MTR 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. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.79, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, MESA ROYALTY TRUST's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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 company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 21.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.99 million to $1.20 million.

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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