Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: ETR, HCP, TE

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."

Entergy

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Entergy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the electric power production and retail electric distribution operations in the United States. It operates in two segments, Utility and Entergy Wholesale Commodities. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.67.

The average volume for Entergy has been 1,325,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. Entergy has a market cap of $13.9 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 11.8% 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 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.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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. 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.
  • ENTERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 26.3% 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 increased its bottom line by earning $5.22 versus $3.98 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.52 versus $5.22).
  • ETR, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for ENTERGY CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.61%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.37% is above that of the industry average.

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