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."

Educational Development

Dividend Yield: 7.40%

Educational Development (NASDAQ: EDUC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.40%.

Educational Development Corporation operates as a trade publisher of the line of educational children's books in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 36.25.

The average volume for Educational Development has been 5,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Educational Development has a market cap of $17.4 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 41.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Educational Development as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EDUC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 55.74%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -0.05% trails the industry average.
  • EDUC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.20 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that EDUC's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.62, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, EDUC's share price has jumped by 37.41%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • 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 Distributors industry and the overall market, EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Whitestone REIT

Dividend Yield: 7.90%

Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.90%.

WhiteStone REIT is a Maryland REIT engaged in owning and operating commercial properties in culturally diverse markets in major metropolitan areas. The company has a P/E ratio of 57.08.

The average volume for Whitestone REIT has been 99,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Whitestone REIT has a market cap of $329.8 million and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 8.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Whitestone REIT as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, compelling growth in net income and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • WSR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 11.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.0%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 29.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.97 million to $1.25 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $6.25 million or 43.77% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 18.48%.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that WSR's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

THL Credit

Dividend Yield: 10.70%

THL Credit (NASDAQ: TCRD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

THL Credit, Inc. is a business development company specializing in direct and fund of fund investments. The fund seeks to invest in debt and equity securities of middle market companies. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.55.

The average volume for THL Credit has been 181,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. THL Credit has a market cap of $430.6 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 22.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates THL Credit as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 130.02% to $13.16 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, THL CREDIT INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -82.12%.
  • The gross profit margin for THL CREDIT INC is rather high; currently it is at 67.49%. Regardless of TCRD's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, TCRD's net profit margin of 39.09% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • THL CREDIT INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, THL CREDIT INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.45 versus $1.26 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 4.1% in earnings ($1.39 versus $1.45).
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, THL CREDIT INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet:

null