3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: ETR, NS, KKR

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."

Entergy

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Entergy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the electric power production and retail electric distribution operations in the United States. It generates electricity through gas/oil, nuclear, coal, and hydro power. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.89.

The average volume for Entergy has been 1,550,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Entergy has a market cap of $13.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 21.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Entergy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. 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:
  • ETR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $761.41 million or 33.13% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 2.11%.
  • ENTERGY CORP has improved earnings per share by 14.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENTERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $3.98 versus $4.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.14 versus $3.98).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Electric Utilities industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 15.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $168.06 million to $194.28 million.

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