3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: NS, MIC, FTR

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."

NuStar Energy L.P

Dividend Yield: 6.60%

NuStar Energy L.P (NYSE: NS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.60%.

NuStar Energy L.P. is engaged in the terminalling, storage, and marketing of petroleum products, and transportation of petroleum products and anhydrous ammonia primarily in the United States and the Netherlands. The company operates in three segments: Storage, Pipeline, and Fuels Marketing.

The average volume for NuStar Energy L.P has been 464,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. NuStar Energy L.P has a market cap of $5.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 31.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates NuStar Energy L.P as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 93.33% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 61.68% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • NUSTAR ENERGY LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, NUSTAR ENERGY LP continued to lose money by earning -$2.82 versus -$3.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.20 versus -$2.82).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 67.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $33.09 million to $55.51 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 57.25% to $137.06 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NUSTAR ENERGY LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -5.22%.
  • NS, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 16.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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