Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks: Top 3 Companies: STWD, VLY, BPL

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."

Starwood Property

Dividend Yield: 8.40%

Starwood Property (NYSE: STWD) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.40%.

Starwood Property Trust, Inc. originates, acquires, finances, and manages commercial mortgage loans, other commercial real estate debt investments, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and other commercial real estate-related debt investments in the United States and Europe. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.59.

The average volume for Starwood Property has been 2,682,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Starwood Property has a market cap of $5.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 0.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Starwood Property as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations 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 8.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.5%. 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 STARWOOD PROPERTY TRUST INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.67%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 65.08% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $114.15 million or 9.41% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, STARWOOD PROPERTY TRUST INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 0.76%.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, STARWOOD PROPERTY TRUST INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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