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."

Copa Holdings

Dividend Yield: 4.10%

Copa Holdings (NYSE: CPA) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.10%.

Copa Holdings, S.A. provides airline passenger and cargo services in Latin America. It offers services within Colombia; and international flights from various cities in Colombia to Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.30.

The average volume for Copa Holdings has been 530,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Copa Holdings has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are down 21.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Copa Holdings as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. 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:
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.54, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.77 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • CPA, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Airlines industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, COPA HOLDINGS SA has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Looking at the price performance of CPA's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 43.10%, and it has underformed the S&P 500 Index. In addition, the company's earnings per share are lower today than the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp decline over the past year may have been what was needed in order to bring its value into alignment with its fundamentals and others in its industry.
  • The gross profit margin for COPA HOLDINGS SA is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 25.12%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 17.90% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.

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Ship Finance International

Dividend Yield: 10.30%

Ship Finance International (NYSE: SFL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.30%.

Ship Finance International Limited owns and operates vessels and offshore related assets in Bermuda, Cyprus, Malta, Liberia, Norway, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Marshall Islands. It is also involved in the charter, purchase, and sale of assets. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.88.

The average volume for Ship Finance International has been 571,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ship Finance International has a market cap of $1.6 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 17.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ship Finance International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, 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 lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 38.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.0%. 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 SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD is rather high; currently it is at 69.52%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 36.75% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 76.97% to $65.59 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -53.24%.
  • SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD's earnings per share declined by 20.0% 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, SHIP FINANCE INTL LTD increased its bottom line by earning $1.25 versus $1.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.58 versus $1.25).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 18.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $40.73 million to $33.11 million.

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Duke Energy Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Duke Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. It operates through three segments: Regulated Utilities, International Energy, and Commercial Power. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.72.

The average volume for Duke Energy Corporation has been 3,518,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $50.2 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 12.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and reasonable valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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 Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 990.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$97.00 million to $864.00 million.
  • 37.16% is the gross profit margin for DUKE ENERGY CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.24% is above that of the industry average.
  • DUKE ENERGY CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.65 versus $3.63 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.66 versus $4.65).
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,440.00 million or 4.87% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, DUKE ENERGY CORP's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 18.04%.

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