Best 3 Yielding Buy-Rated Stocks: ETR, BX, VGR

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 16.52.

The average volume for Entergy has been 1,194,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Entergy has a market cap of $13.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 12.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Entergy as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its attractive valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 2.9%. 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.
  • In its most recent trading session, ETR 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. 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 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. Along with this, the net profit margin of 10.37% trails that of the industry average.

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Blackstone Group

Dividend Yield: 8.10%

Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.10%.

The Blackstone Group L.P. is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm also provides financial advisory services to its clients. It provides its services to public and corporate pension funds, academic, cultural, and charitable organizations. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.95.

The average volume for Blackstone Group has been 4,257,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Blackstone Group has a market cap of $26.7 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 28.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Blackstone Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BX's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 63.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, BLACKSTONE GROUP LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for BLACKSTONE GROUP LP is rather high; currently it is at 56.18%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 25.24% is above that of the industry average.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 127.27% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 40.92% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, BX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • BLACKSTONE GROUP 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BLACKSTONE GROUP LP increased its bottom line by earning $2.59 versus $1.98 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.07 versus $2.59).

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Vector Group

Dividend Yield: 7.20%

Vector Group (NYSE: VGR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.20%.

Vector Group Ltd., through its subsidiaries, primarily manufactures and sells cigarettes in the United States. The company operates through Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and Real Estate segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 44.22.

The average volume for Vector Group has been 647,500 shares per day over the past 30 days. Vector Group has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the tobacco industry. Shares are up 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Vector Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 23.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • VECTOR GROUP LTD 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, VECTOR GROUP LTD increased its bottom line by earning $0.35 versus $0.32 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.74 versus $0.35).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Tobacco industry. The net income increased by 712.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.58 million to $20.96 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 120.02% to $7.83 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, VECTOR GROUP LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -30.30%.
  • 47.24% is the gross profit margin for VECTOR GROUP LTD which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, VGR's net profit margin of 7.94% significantly trails the industry average.

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