What To Buy: Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: PAA, NPBC, ORI

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."

Plains All American Pipeline

Dividend Yield: 5.70%

Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.70%.

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., through with its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, terminalling, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), natural gas, and refined products in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.90.

The average volume for Plains All American Pipeline has been 1,454,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Plains All American Pipeline has a market cap of $19.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Plains All American Pipeline as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its reasonable 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 somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PAA, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 38.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 49.1%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for PLAINS ALL AMER PIPELNE -LP is currently extremely low, coming in at 9.32%. Regardless of PAA's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 4.76% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $732.00 million or 10.94% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow PLAINS ALL AMER PIPELNE -LP is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.17%.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 26.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $384.00 million to $283.00 million.

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