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."

Healthcare Realty

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Healthcare Realty (NYSE: HR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Healthcare Realty Trust Incorporated is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 75.46.

The average volume for Healthcare Realty has been 687,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Healthcare Realty has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Healthcare Realty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 45.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $12.38 million to $18.07 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 10.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.0%. 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.
  • HEALTHCARE REALTY TRUST INC's earnings per share declined by 10.0% 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, HEALTHCARE REALTY TRUST INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.35 versus -$0.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.45 versus $0.35).
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these 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 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, HEALTHCARE REALTY TRUST INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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CenturyLink

Dividend Yield: 6.00%

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.00%.

CenturyLink, Inc. provides various communications services to residential, business, governmental, and wholesale customers in the United States. It operates through two segments, Business and Consumer. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.61.

The average volume for CenturyLink has been 4,751,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. CenturyLink has a market cap of $20.5 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 10.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates CenturyLink as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. 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:
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,251.00 million or 8.68% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -27.33%.
  • The gross profit margin for CENTURYLINK INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.38%. Regardless of CTL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year.
  • CENTURYLINK INC's earnings per share declined by 19.5% 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, CENTURYLINK INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.35 versus -$0.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.56 versus $1.35).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.3%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 21.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $239.00 million to $188.00 million.

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AmeriGas Partners

Dividend Yield: 7.10%

AmeriGas Partners (NYSE: APU) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.10%.

AmeriGas Partners, L.P. operates as a retail and wholesale distributor of propane gas, and related equipment and supplies in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 41.62.

The average volume for AmeriGas Partners has been 222,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. AmeriGas Partners has a market cap of $4.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are up 2.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates AmeriGas Partners as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock performance, considering both the consistency and magnitude of the price movement over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • APU, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 1.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 15.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP 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, AMERIGAS PARTNERS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.80 versus $1.43 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 28.8% in earnings ($1.28 versus $1.80).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Gas Utilities industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 129.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $134.90 million to -$39.57 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.13 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.48, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

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