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

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."

National Retail Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

National Retail Properties, Inc. is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust. The firm acquires, owns, manages, and develops retail properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.08.

The average volume for National Retail Properties has been 1,203,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Retail Properties has a market cap of $5.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates National Retail Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NNN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 9.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. 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.
  • NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES has improved earnings per share by 29.6% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES increased its bottom line by earning $1.24 versus $1.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.25 versus $1.24).
  • The gross profit margin for NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 62.12%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 46.57% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $64.98 million or 9.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 12.61%.

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Iron Mountain

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

Iron Mountain Incorporated, together with its subsidiaries, provides storage and information management services in North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.50.

The average volume for Iron Mountain has been 1,482,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Iron Mountain has a market cap of $7.9 billion and is part of the computer software & services industry. Shares are down 3.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Iron Mountain as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, notable return on equity 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 9.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.3%. 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 company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, IRON MOUNTAIN INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, IRM's share price has jumped by 30.35%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, IRM should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The gross profit margin for IRON MOUNTAIN INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.67%. Regardless of IRM's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, IRM's net profit margin of 1.63% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • IRON MOUNTAIN 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, IRON MOUNTAIN INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.69 versus $0.52 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 27.2% in earnings ($1.23 versus $1.69).

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TC Pipelines

Dividend Yield: 5.10%

TC Pipelines (NYSE: TCP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.10%.

TC PipeLines, LP acquires, owns, and participates in the management of energy infrastructure businesses in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.74.

The average volume for TC Pipelines has been 167,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. TC Pipelines has a market cap of $4.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates TC Pipelines as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. 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:
  • TC PIPELINES LP has improved earnings per share by 12.7% 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, TC PIPELINES LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.67 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.75 versus $2.67).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 14.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $41.00 million to $47.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for TC PIPELINES LP is currently very high, coming in at 77.01%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 54.02% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 27.22% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. 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.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, TCP has outperformed against the industry average of 19.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.1%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

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