Buy These Top 3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Today: SPH, SUNS, BKEP

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."

Suburban Propane Partners

Dividend Yield: 8.20%

Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.20%.

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the retail marketing and distribution of propane, fuel oil, and refined fuels. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.62.

The average volume for Suburban Propane Partners has been 119,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Suburban Propane Partners has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 0.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Suburban Propane Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its 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:
  • 37.83% is the gross profit margin for SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 22.79% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 678.57% to $126.33 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 25.69%.
  • SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP's earnings per share declined by 8.9% 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, SUBURBAN PROPANE PRTNRS -LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.55 versus $1.44 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.01 versus $1.55).
  • SPH, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 20.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 31.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, SPH has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.73, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

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