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."

Highwoods Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

Highwoods Properties (NYSE: HIW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

Highwoods Properties, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The trust engages in leasing, management, development, construction, and other customer-related services for its properties and for third parties. It invests in the real estate markets of United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.46.

The average volume for Highwoods Properties has been 668,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Highwoods Properties has a market cap of $3.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Highwoods Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 56.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $12.76 million to $19.94 million.
  • 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 7.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $33.11 million or 5.48% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 0.81%.
  • HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.19 versus $0.66 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 20.2% in earnings ($0.95 versus $1.19).

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Nordic American Tankers

Dividend Yield: 10.70%

Nordic American Tankers (NYSE: NAT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.70%.

Nordic American Tankers Limited, a tanker company, engages in acquiring and chartering double-hull tankers. As of December 31, 2014, it owned 24 Suezmax crude oil tankers, including two new buildings under construction. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The average volume for Nordic American Tankers has been 1,628,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Nordic American Tankers has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 41.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Nordic American Tankers as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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:
  • NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS 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, NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD continued to lose money by earning -$0.15 versus -$1.67 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.82 versus -$0.15).
  • 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 659.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.99 million to $30.32 million.
  • NAT's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.95, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD is currently very high, coming in at 76.80%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 43.58% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.72% to $40.66 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.17%.

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Corrections Corp of America

Dividend Yield: 6.40%

Corrections Corp of America (NYSE: CXW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.40%.

Corrections Corporation of America, together with its subsidiaries, owns and operates privatized correctional and detention facilities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.64.

The average volume for Corrections Corp of America has been 606,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. Corrections Corp of America has a market cap of $3.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Corrections Corp of America as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 10.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $51.74 million to $57.28 million.
  • 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 5.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 76.00% to $117.19 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 0.81%.
  • 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, CORRECTIONS CORP AMER has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

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