3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Leading The Pack: NTI, BMR, ALE

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."

Northern Tier Energy

Dividend Yield: 17.70%

Northern Tier Energy (NYSE: NTI) shares currently have a dividend yield of 17.70%.

Northern Tier Energy LP, an independent downstream energy company, engages in refining, retail, and pipeline operations in the United States. It operates through two segments, Refining and Retail. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.03.

The average volume for Northern Tier Energy has been 522,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Northern Tier Energy has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 11.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Northern Tier Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.77, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.60 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.78 versus $2.60).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 55.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $71.50 million to $111.20 million.

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BioMed Realty

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

BioMed Realty (NYSE: BMR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on providing real estate to the life science industry in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.00.

The average volume for BioMed Realty has been 1,840,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. BioMed Realty has a market cap of $4.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 1.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates BioMed Realty as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel its 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 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.6%. 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.
  • BIOMED REALTY TRUST INC's earnings per share declined by 20.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BIOMED REALTY TRUST INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.98 versus $0.20 in the prior year.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, BIOMED REALTY TRUST INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, BMR has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.

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ALLETE

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

ALLETE (NYSE: ALE) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

ALLETE, Inc. operates as an energy company. The company operates through Regulated Operations, and Investments and Other segments. It generates electricity from coal-fired, hydro, wind, and biomass co-fired facilities. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.42.

The average volume for ALLETE has been 298,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. ALLETE has a market cap of $2.4 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 11.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates ALLETE as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ALE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • ALLETE INC has improved earnings per share by 6.3% 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, ALLETE INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.90 versus $2.63 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.14 versus $2.90).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.78, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.47 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Electric Utilities industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 19.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $33.50 million to $39.90 million.

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