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."

National Retail Properties

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

National Retail Properties, Inc. is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust. The firm acquires, owns, manages, and develops retail properties in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.58.

The average volume for National Retail Properties has been 1,164,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. National Retail Properties has a market cap of $5.0 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates National Retail Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NNN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 24.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $43.33 million to $53.98 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $97.14 million or 23.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 2.10%.
  • The gross profit margin for NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES is rather high; currently it is at 59.44%. Regardless of NNN's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NNN's net profit margin of 46.45% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES has improved earnings per share by 21.4% 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, NATIONAL RETAIL PROPERTIES increased its bottom line by earning $1.24 versus $1.06 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 0.4% in earnings ($1.24 versus $1.24).

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PacWest Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 4.20%

PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ: PACW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.20%.

PacWest Bancorp operates as the holding company for Pacific Western Bank that provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, professionals, and small to mid-sized businesses in the United States. It accepts demand, money market, and time deposits. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.58.

The average volume for PacWest Bancorp has been 772,300 shares per day over the past 30 days. PacWest Bancorp has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 4.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates PacWest Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • PACW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • PACWEST BANCORP 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, PACWEST BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.97 versus $1.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.80 versus $1.97).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 706.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $10.56 million to $85.08 million.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • The gross profit margin for PACWEST BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 90.58%. Regardless of PACW's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PACW's net profit margin of 35.73% compares favorably to the industry average.

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Baxter International

Dividend Yield: 5.50%

Baxter International (NYSE: BAX) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.50%.

Baxter International Inc., develops, manufactures, and markets products for people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.11.

The average volume for Baxter International has been 10,378,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Baxter International has a market cap of $20.6 billion and is part of the health services industry. Shares are down 49% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Baxter International as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, BAX's share price has jumped by 220.35%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, BAX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry and the overall market, BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC is rather high; currently it is at 54.25%. Regardless of BAX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BAX's net profit margin of 11.42% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • BAX, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 25.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

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