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."

Valley National Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 4.40%

Valley National Bancorp (NYSE: VLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.40%.

Valley National Bancorp operates as the holding company for the Valley National Bank that provides commercial, retail, insurance, and wealth management financial services products. The company operates through Commercial Lending, Consumer Lending, and Investment Management segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.67.

The average volume for Valley National Bancorp has been 1,451,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. Valley National Bancorp has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 2.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valley National Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and reasonable valuation levels. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 15.6%. 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 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 Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 8.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $29.52 million to $31.99 million.
  • The gross profit margin for VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 77.51%. Regardless of VLY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.32% trails the industry average.
  • In its most recent trading session, VLY has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Ship Finance International

Dividend Yield: 10.50%

Ship Finance International (NYSE: SFL) shares currently have a dividend yield of 10.50%.

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 16.53.

The average volume for Ship Finance International has been 607,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Ship Finance International has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the transportation industry. Shares are up 13.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

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 34.8%. 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 -21.91%.
  • 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 ($2.27 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.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Verizon Communications

Dividend Yield: 4.70%

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.70%.

Verizon Communications Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.01.

The average volume for Verizon Communications has been 14,814,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Verizon Communications has a market cap of $189.6 billion and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

TheStreet Ratings rates Verizon Communications as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • VZ's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income increased by 0.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $4,214.00 million to $4,231.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $8,737.00 million or 13.98% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.62%.
  • The gross profit margin for VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.37%. Regardless of VZ's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VZ's net profit margin of 13.12% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC reported lower earnings of $2.51 versus $4.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.96 versus $2.51).

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: See inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar charitable trust portfolio to see the stocks he thinks could be potential winners. Click here to see his holdings for 14-days FREE.

Other helpful dividend tools from TheStreet: