Best Of The Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: CCLP, SUNS, SFL

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."

CSI Compressco

Dividend Yield: 9.70%

CSI Compressco (NASDAQ: CCLP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 9.70%.

CSI Compressco LP provides compression services and equipment for natural gas and oil production, gathering, transportation, processing, and storage applications in the United States, Latin America, Canada, and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 92.50.

The average volume for CSI Compressco has been 157,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. CSI Compressco has a market cap of $674.6 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 55% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates CSI Compressco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CCLP's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 245.1%. 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.
  • 41.58% is the gross profit margin for CSI COMPRESSCO LP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of CCLP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 1.75% trails the industry average.
  • The share price of CSI COMPRESSCO LP has not done very well: it is down 14.41% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the stock's decline during the last year, it is still somewhat more expensive (in proportion to its earnings over the last year) than most other stocks in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays offset this slight negative.
  • CSI COMPRESSCO 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CSI COMPRESSCO LP reported lower earnings of $0.61 versus $1.11 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 49.2% in earnings ($0.31 versus $0.61).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 60.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $4.62 million to $1.81 million.

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Solar Senior Capital

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

Solar Senior Capital (NASDAQ: SUNS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

Solar Senior Capital Ltd. is a business development company specializing in investments in leveraged, middle-market companies in the United States. The fund invests in the form of senior secured loans, including first lien, unitranche, and second lien debt instruments. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.22.

The average volume for Solar Senior Capital has been 37,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Solar Senior Capital has a market cap of $190.3 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 10.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Solar Senior Capital as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. 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 5.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.6%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD is currently very high, coming in at 79.92%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 67.92% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD's earnings per share declined by 28.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD reported lower earnings of $1.02 versus $1.11 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.37 versus $1.02).
  • In its most recent trading session, SUNS 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. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$123.12 million or 354.07% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

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Ship Finance International

Dividend Yield: 10.50%

Ship Finance International (NYSE: SFL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.50%.

Ship Finance International Limited owns and operates vessels and offshore related assets in Bermuda, Cyprus, Malta, Liberia, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Marshall Islands. It is also involved in the charter, purchase, and sale of assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.18.

The average volume for Ship Finance International has been 543,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ship Finance International has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 13.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ship Finance International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 38.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD has improved earnings per share by 35.0% 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, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD increased its bottom line by earning $1.25 versus $1.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.39 versus $1.25).
  • 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 37.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $18.30 million to $25.14 million.
  • The gross profit margin for SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD is rather high; currently it is at 64.86%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 28.35% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 51.56% to $36.60 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.34%.

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