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."

Lamar Advertising

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ: LAMR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Lamar Advertising Company is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust. The firm primarily engages in selling advertising space on billboards, buses, shelters, benches, and logo plates. Lamar Advertising Company was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.95.

The average volume for Lamar Advertising has been 578,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lamar Advertising has a market cap of $4.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 11.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Lamar Advertising as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • LAMAR ADVERTISING CO 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, LAMAR ADVERTISING CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.66 versus $0.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.73 versus $2.66).
  • 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 941.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$4.84 million to $40.72 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, LAMAR ADVERTISING CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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Health Care REIT

Dividend Yield: 4.80%

Health Care REIT (NYSE: HCN) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.80%.

Health Care REIT, Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. The firm engages in acquiring, planning, developing, managing, repositioning and monetizing of real estate assets. It primarily invests in the real estate markets of the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.81.

The average volume for Health Care REIT has been 2,169,100 shares per day over the past 30 days. Health Care REIT has a market cap of $24.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Health Care REIT as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and reasonable valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HCN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • HEALTH CARE REIT 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HEALTH CARE REIT INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.40 versus $0.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.02 versus $1.40).
  • 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 212.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $66.38 million to $207.15 million.

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AGL Resources

Dividend Yield: 4.30%

AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.30%.

AGL Resources Inc., an energy services holding company, distributes natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and government clients in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, and Maryland. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.09.

The average volume for AGL Resources has been 691,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. AGL Resources has a market cap of $5.7 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 11.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates AGL Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $365.00 million or 13.35% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AGL RESOURCES INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 22.10%.
  • GAS, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 17.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 24.2%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • AGL RESOURCES INC's earnings per share declined by 27.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AGL RESOURCES INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.72 versus $2.45 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 36.6% in earnings ($2.99 versus $4.72).
  • The gross profit margin for AGL RESOURCES INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.42%. Regardless of GAS's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.23% trails the industry average.

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