The 10 Top Rated Dividend Stocks for 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With so many different investments options, investors often have a difficult time deciding which direction is the best one for them to take.

Here at TheStreet, we attempt to declutter the plethora of information available and present it to our readers in a way so that they can make wise investment decisions.

When you are looking for a solid income stream and not just an implied return on your money, it is hard to beat dividends.  However, according to Dave Peltier Portfolio Manager for Dividend Stock Advisor, "Not all dividends are created equal. It is not always easy to decide which ones are good investments simply by looking at their stock offerings." 

According to Peltier, "Being an investor is a little like having a crystal ball. You need to be able to look at the past, present and the future. In general when you're evaluating a dividend-paying stock, the primary thought should be the viability and sustainability of the dividend itself. We look at past performance. One way is to take a look at a company's dividend history. While it's never possible to predict the future from the past, some companies have exhibited a tendency to raise their payouts annually. It's also wise to seek out yields that are trending toward the higher end of the industry and the company's historical range."

Peltier continues, "However, earnings power alone is not the ultimate gauge for dividend stocks. A lot of the same fundamental homework that goes into picking growth stocks will still apply here, but you need to add a layer of fixed income-like analysis.  In other words, it's also important to look at the present, which a company's current balance sheet. While a quick glance at the ratings from the major agencies help, we're generally looking for a manageable level of debt and a solid cash position. The clearest danger to a dividend is a lack of cash flow."

Peltier warns, "A dividend stock that stops paying its dividend is of little value to anyone's portfolio. Remember that while more than 75% of the companies in the S&P 500 offer a dividend, the payout remains a luxury, not a necessity. Other bills, namely interest on debt, must be paid before investors can be rewarded with a dividend. When a company has weak cash flow, the dividend is among the first costs to be cut."

Due to the myriad of dividend stocks that an investor can choose from, TheStreet Quant Ratings team has put together a list of 10 dividend stocks that yield over 4% rated most highly by over 32 major data factors. TheStreet Quant Ratings proprietary stock algorithm identified these dividend stocks as being both fundamentally and technically strong with lower potential for risk. Note that these ratings can change at any time. If you would like access to real-time ratings of these stocks, you can access them by subscribing to TheStreet Quant Ratings.

Here are the 10 dividend stocks with over a 4% yield that are the most highly rated by TheStreet Quant Ratings at this time...

#10: Grupo Aeroportuario Sureste (ASR)

Dividend Yield: 4.85%

Company Description: Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A.B. de C.V. holds concessions to operate, maintain, and develop airports in the southeast region of Mexico.  

TheStreet Ratings team rates GRUPO AEROPORTUARIO SURESTE as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate GRUPO AEROPORTUARIO SURESTE (ASR) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. 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, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ASR Ratings Report

#9: Kinder Morgan Energy -LP (KMP)

Dividend Yield: 5.44%

Company Description: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. operates as a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America. The company operates through five segments: Natural Gas Pipelines, CO2, Products Pipelines, Terminals, and Kinder Morgan Canada.

TheStreet Ratings team rates KINDER MORGAN ENERGY -LP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KINDER MORGAN ENERGY -LP (KMP) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance 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."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: KMP Ratings Report

#8: UIL Holdings Corp (UIL)

Dividend Yield: 4.34%

Company Description: UIL Holdings Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates in the regulated utility businesses. The company operates in the Electric Distribution, Electric Transmission, and Gas Distribution segments.

TheStreet Ratings team rates UIL HOLDINGS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate UIL HOLDINGS CORP (UIL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: UIL Ratings Report

#7: Southern Co (SO)

Dividend Yield: 4.48%

Company Description: The Southern Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a public electric utility company.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SOUTHERN CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SOUTHERN CO (SO) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SO Ratings Report

#6: Entergy Corp (ETR)

Dividend Yield: 4.04%

Company Description: 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.

TheStreet Ratings team rates ENTERGY CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ENTERGY CORP (ETR) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ETR Ratings Report

#5: Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT)

Dividend Yield: 6.43%

Company Description: Hospitality Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in buying, owning, and leasing hotels.

TheStreet Ratings team rates HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES TRUST as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate HOSPITALITY PROPERTIES TRUST (HPT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: HPT Ratings Report

#4: Reynolds American Inc (RAI)

Dividend Yield: 4.11%

Company Description: Reynolds American Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarette and other tobacco products in the United States. The company operates through RJR Tobacco, American Snuff, and Santa Fe segments.

TheStreet Ratings team rates REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC (RAI) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins 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."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: RAI Ratings Report

#3: Safety Insurance Group Inc (SAFT)

Dividend Yield: 4.64%

Company Description: Safety Insurance Group, Inc. provides private passenger automobile insurance products primarily in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SAFETY INSURANCE GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SAFETY INSURANCE GROUP INC (SAFT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. 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, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SAFT Ratings Report

#2: LTC Properties Inc (LTC)

Dividend Yield: 4.88%

Company Description: LTC Properties, Inc. operates as a health care real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates LTC PROPERTIES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LTC PROPERTIES INC (LTC) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: LTC Ratings Report

#1: Spectra Energy Partners LP (SEP)

Dividend Yield: 4.06%

Company Description: Spectra Energy Partners, LP operates as an investment arm of Spectra Energy Corp.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SPECTRA ENERGY PARTNERS LP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SPECTRA ENERGY PARTNERS LP (SEP) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SEP Ratings Report

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