Buy These Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: TAXI, FDUS, 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."

Medallion Financial

Dividend Yield: 7.70%

Medallion Financial (NASDAQ: TAXI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.70%.

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 11.06.

The average volume for Medallion Financial has been 370,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medallion Financial has a market cap of $314.5 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 12.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Medallion Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for MEDALLION FINANCIAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 59.38%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 71.16% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.81% to $7.84 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MEDALLION FINANCIAL CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -89.11%.
  • 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 13.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $6.25 million to $7.10 million.
  • TAXI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.86% 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.

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