Editor's pick: Originally published Jan. 12.

This story has been updated from Jan. 7 with additional information, including comments from Jim Cramer. 

Dividend growth is expected to slow to the lowest rate in 65 years, according to Goldman Sachs, which could mean a major change in strategy for investors who rely on on income-providing stocks.   

Institutional investors in the swaps market are "pricing in the lowest growth in dividends since 1950," CNBC reported, citing Goldman's analysis. "The current pricing levels imply a growth rate of just 1.3 percent a year, which would be down sharply from the average 5.8 percent growth in the 65-year period," CNBC's article said. 

"Rising interest rates pose a risk to high dividend yield stocks," the note read, according to CNBC

That said, dividend stocks seemed to perform somewhat better than others during December.

BMO Capital Markets' U.S. Dividend Growth portfolio ended the month down 1.8%, slightly worse than the S&P 500 Index, which, on a total return basis, fell 1.6%, but far better than the firm's U.S. Small Cap Disciplined Value portfolio, which shed 5.9% and was the worst performer of the month, according to a note sent to clients on Wednesday. BMO Capital is a division of the Bank of Montreal.

BMO's dividend growth portfolio also underperformed the S&P 500 in 2015, returning 0.7% vs. the S&P's 1.4%, respectively. BMO's best portfolio performance for the year came from its U.S. Quality Growth portfolio, with a 4.2% return, followed by the EPS Momentum and Consistent Growth portfolios, returning 3.8% and 3%, respectively.

"It is clear that investors continue to prefer growth strategies and given the earnings growth environment, we would expect similar trends to prevail over the near term," BMO Capital analysts wrote in a note last week. "However, we believe a style shift is likely to occur later in the year."

When searching for dividend opportunities, BMO analysts say investors should incorporate other factors in addition to yield. "We focus not only on growth in dividend payouts, but also on cash levels and earnings growth, as we have found that trends in these factors make dividend yields more believable," they wrote.

BMO's screen for its dividend growth portfolio takes into account the following parameters for S&P 500 stocks: dividend increases in each of the prior 10 years; dividend yield greater than the S&P 500; free cash flow yield greater than the dividend yield, except for utilities; incremental EPS growth in each of the prior two completed years; incremental expected EPS growth in each of the next two years; and a forward P/E multiple less than 20x. The portfolio is updated quarterly. 

Here's the list of stocks from BMO's screen. Note not all of the stocks are covered by BMO analysts. We've paired the list with comments from Jim Cramer or ratings from TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool for another perspective. Annual dividend yield and 12-month total return numbers were calculated by Bloomberg. When you're done be sure to check out the best small and mid-cap stocks to buy for 2016.

TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equity market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.


ADI Chart ADI data by YCharts

1. Analog Devices
(ADI - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Semiconductors
Market Cap: $16 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.12%
12-Month Total Return: -2.7%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$66

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate ANALOG DEVICES as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.2%. 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.
  • ADI's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.17 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 3.14, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ANALOG DEVICES has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • ANALOG DEVICES's earnings per share declined by 11.8% 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, ANALOG DEVICES increased its bottom line by earning $2.20 versus $1.98 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.31 versus $2.20).
  • The gross profit margin for ANALOG DEVICES is rather high; currently it is at 69.15%. Regardless of ADI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ADI's net profit margin of 9.83% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ADI

 

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2. Air Products & Chemicals
(APD - Get Report)
Industry: Materials/Industrial Gases
Market Cap: $25.8 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.7%
12-Month Total Return: -13.8%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Not Rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. 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, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS 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, AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.88 versus $4.59 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.40 versus $5.88).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 231.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $104.00 million to $344.50 million.
  • 40.29% is the gross profit margin for AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.06% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $779.90 million or 29.46% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 13.98%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.81, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that APD's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.51, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: APD

 

ARG Chart ARG data by YCharts

3. Airgas
(ARG)
Industry: Materials/Industrial Gases
Market Cap: $9.9 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 1.7%
12-Month Total Return: 24.9%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Not Rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate AIRGAS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 18.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • AIRGAS INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, AIRGAS INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.86 versus $4.68 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.90 versus $4.86).
  • The gross profit margin for AIRGAS INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.24%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 7.13% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $147.92 million or 2.05% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AIRGAS INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 13.98%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ARG

 

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4. Best Buy
(BBY - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Computer & Electronics Retail
Market Cap: $10.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 4.8%
12-Month Total Return: -20.8%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Not Rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate BEST BUY CO INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • 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 Specialty Retail industry average. The net income increased by 16.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $107.00 million to $125.00 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that BBY's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.55, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • BEST BUY CO INC has improved earnings per share by 15.6% 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, BEST BUY CO INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.53 versus $2.00 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 25.8% in earnings ($2.62 versus $3.53).
  • BBY, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 4.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BBY

 

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5. C.H. Robinson Worldwide
(CHRW - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Air Freight & Logistics
Market Cap: $9 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.51%
12-Month Total Return: -12.2%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$70

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate C H ROBINSON WORLDWIDE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • C H ROBINSON WORLDWIDE INC has improved earnings per share by 12.9% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, C H ROBINSON WORLDWIDE INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.05 versus $2.65 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.50 versus $3.05).
  • 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 Air Freight & Logistics industry average. The net income increased by 11.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $124.98 million to $139.43 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.91, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.14, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $213.25 million or 20.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -2.25%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHRW

 

CMI Chart CMI data by YCharts

6. Cummins
(CMI - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Construction & Farm Machinery & Heavy Trucks
Market Cap: $15.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 4.11%
12-Month Total Return: -38.4%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$92

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate CUMMINS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • CMI's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.21 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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 Machinery industry and the overall market, CUMMINS INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, CMI has outperformed against the industry average of 21.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $562.00 million or 18.19% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 18.19%, CUMMINS INC is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate of -18.55%.
  • Looking at the price performance of CMI's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 38.99%, 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. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CMI

 


CSX Chart CSX data by YCharts

7. CSX
(CSX - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Multi-Utilities
Market Cap: $22.8billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3%
12-Month Total Return: n/a

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$30

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate CSX CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.87, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.02, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $930.00 million or 8.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -5.36%.
  • CSX 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, CSX CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.93 versus $1.83 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.99 versus $1.93).
  • 42.02% is the gross profit margin for CSX CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 17.25% trails the industry average.
  • 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 Road & Rail industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CSX CORP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CSX


D Chart D data by YCharts

8. Dominion Resources
(D - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Railroads
Market Cap: $41 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.76%
12-Month Total Return: -6.6%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$77

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate DOMINION RESOURCES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 12.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $529.00 million to $593.00 million.
  • 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 Multi-Utilities industry and the overall market, DOMINION RESOURCES INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 49.75% is the gross profit margin for DOMINION RESOURCES INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 19.95% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,293.00 million or 34.26% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 21.02%.
  • DOMINION RESOURCES INC has improved earnings per share by 11.1% 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, DOMINION RESOURCES INC reported lower earnings of $2.24 versus $3.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.66 versus $2.24).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: D

 


ED Chart ED data by YCharts

9. Consolidated Edison
(ED - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Multi-Utilities
Market Cap: $19.3 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.96%
12-Month Total Return: 2.3%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$66

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • ED's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.5%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $713.00 million or 44.33% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 21.02%.
  • CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, CONSOLIDATED EDISON INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.71 versus $3.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.00 versus $3.71).
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that ED's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ED

 

ES Chart ES data by YCharts

10. Eversource Energy
(ES - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Electric Utilities
Market Cap: $16.1 billion
Annual Dividend Yield: 3.28%
12-Month Total Return: -1.2%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$52

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate EVERSOURCE ENERGY as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • ES's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • EVERSOURCE ENERGY reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, EVERSOURCE ENERGY increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.85 versus $2.57).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Electric Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 0.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $234.61 million to $235.92 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.96, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.36 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ES

 

GIS Chart GIS data by YCharts

11. General Mills
(GIS - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Packaged Foods & Meats
Market Cap: $33.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.14%
12-Month Total Return: 9.7%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$56

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate GENERAL MILLS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • 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.
  • 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 Food Products industry and the overall market, GENERAL MILLS INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $725.10 million or 35.83% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GENERAL MILLS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -19.17%.
  • 39.03% is the gross profit margin for GENERAL MILLS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 11.96% trails the industry average.
  • GENERAL MILLS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, GENERAL MILLS INC reported lower earnings of $1.97 versus $2.83 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.85 versus $1.97).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GIS

 


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12. Genuine Parts
(GPC - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Distributors
Market Cap: $11.9 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.11%
12-Month Total Return: -16.7%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate GENUINE PARTS CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 98.84% to $441.88 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 81.64%.
  • GPC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.20 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that GPC's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.57, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Distributors industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, GENUINE PARTS CO has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GPC

 


HRS Chart HRS data by YCharts

13. Harris Corp.  
(HRS)
Industry: Technology/Communications Equipment
Market Cap: $10.8 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.23%
12-Month Total Return: 29.3%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate HARRIS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, increase in net income, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • HRS's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 56.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Communications Equipment industry. The net income increased by 18.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $125.10 million to $148.00 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, despite the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • 35.39% is the gross profit margin for HARRIS CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of HRS'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 8.17% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HRS


ITW Chart ITW data by YCharts

14. Illinois Tool Works
(ITW - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $30.1 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.5%
12-Month Total Return: -9%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$110

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS has improved earnings per share by 8.6% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS increased its bottom line by earning $4.68 versus $3.62 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.11 versus $4.68).
  • 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 Machinery industry and the overall market, ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 43.59% is the gross profit margin for ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.23% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 160.51% to $706.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -18.55%.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, ITW has outperformed against the industry average of 21.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 9.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ITW

JNJ Chart JNJ data by YCharts

15. Johnson & Johnson
(JNJ - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Pharmaceuticals
Market Cap: $270 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.02%
12-Month Total Return: -3.8%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$111

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate JOHNSON & JOHNSON as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • JNJ'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. To add to this, JNJ has a quick ratio of 1.93, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $6,125.00 million or 31.60% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.35%.
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON's earnings per share declined by 27.7% 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, JOHNSON & JOHNSON increased its bottom line by earning $5.70 versus $4.82 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.18 versus $5.70).
  • The gross profit margin for JOHNSON & JOHNSON is currently very high, coming in at 74.89%. Regardless of JNJ'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 19.63% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: JNJ

 


LEG Chart LEG data by YCharts

16. Leggett & Platt
(LEG - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Home Furnishings
Market Cap: $5.4 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 3.19%
12-Month Total Return: -8.5%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate LEGGETT & PLATT INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, notable return on equity, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • LEGGETT & PLATT 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LEGGETT & PLATT INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.55 versus $1.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.20 versus $1.55).
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. 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. When compared to other companies in the Household Durables industry and the overall market, LEGGETT & PLATT INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • LEG's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.91 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.04 is sturdy.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Household Durables industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 97.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $48.20 million to $95.20 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LEG

 

MMM Chart MMM data by YCharts

17. 3M
(MMM - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Industrial Conglomerates
Market Cap: $86 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.94%
12-Month Total Return: -10.9%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

"The impending, albeit, gradual, rate hikes throughout the year are not a positive for dividend names, such as MMM, but we believe this discount is baked into prices at these levels and there could be additional upside should the Fed decide to act even slower than some may suspect," said said TheStreet's Jack Mohr, Research Director of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio.

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18. NextEra Energy
(NEE - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Electric Utilities
Market Cap: $48.4 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.93%
12-Month Total Return: 1.7%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Outperform/$122

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate NEXTERA ENERGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • NEE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NEXTERA ENERGY INC has improved earnings per share by 28.7% 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, NEXTERA ENERGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.60 versus $3.93 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.65 versus $5.60).
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 33.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $660.00 million to $879.00 million.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, NEXTERA ENERGY INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 46.14% is the gross profit margin for NEXTERA ENERGY INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 17.74% is above that of the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NEE

PNR Chart PNR data by YCharts


19. Pentair
(PNR - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $8.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.83%
12-Month Total Return: -28.5%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate PENTAIR PLC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry. The net income increased by 161.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$186.00 million to $115.20 million.
  • PENTAIR PLC's earnings per share declined by 37.0% 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, PENTAIR PLC increased its bottom line by earning $3.14 versus $2.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.85 versus $3.14).
  • 38.84% is the gross profit margin for PENTAIR PLC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of PNR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, PNR's net profit margin of 7.42% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, PNR has outperformed against the industry average of 21.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.10, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Machinery industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.94 is weak.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PNR

 

SO Chart SO data by YCharts

20. The Southern Co.
(SO - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Electric Utilities
Market Cap: $42.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 4.63%
12-Month Total Return: -2%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$48

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate SOUTHERN CO  as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • SO's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • SOUTHERN CO has improved earnings per share by 31.3% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, SOUTHERN CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.18 versus $1.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.87 versus $2.18).
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 31.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $735.00 million to $969.00 million.
  • 43.29% is the gross profit margin for SOUTHERN CO which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 17.94% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,981.00 million or 13.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -7.28%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SO

 


T Chart T data by YCharts

21. AT&T
(T - Get Report)
Industry: Telecom/Integrated Telecommunication Services
Market Cap: $208 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 5.6%
12-Month Total Return: 6.6%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate AT&T INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • T's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.6%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $10,797.00 million or 23.76% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AT&T INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 16.25%.
  • The gross profit margin for AT&T INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.43%. Regardless of T'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 7.65% trails the industry average.
  • AT&T INC's earnings per share declined by 16.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AT&T INC reported lower earnings of $1.23 versus $3.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.71 versus $1.23).
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that T's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: T

 


TGT Chart TGT data by YCharts

22. Target
(TGT - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/General Merchandise Stores
Market Cap: $45 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.96%
12-Month Total Return: -2%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$83

"We do view the continued slide in crude oil prices as a positive for Target as consumers continue to save at the gas pump; these savings haven't yet turned into spending, but it does provide a more favorable backdrop for retailers," said TheStreet's Jim Cramer, Portfolio Manager of the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, in his most recent weekly roundup. "We continue to like Target's diversified business model and focused improvement in signature categories, but we are still looking for a concrete shift in consumer spending trends before this name can get back to its recent highs. We reiterate our $85 target."

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23. Verizon Communications
(VZ - Get Report)
Industry: Telecom/Integrated Telecommunication Services
Market Cap: $182 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 4.99%
12-Month Total Return: -0.39%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income increased by 9.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $3,695.00 million to $4,038.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC has improved earnings per share by 11.2% 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, 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 ($3.97 versus $2.51).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $9,520.00 million or 13.97% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 16.25%.
  • The gross profit margin for VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 59.87%. 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 12.17% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VZ

 


WEC Chart WEC data by YCharts

24. WEC Energy
(WEC - Get Report)
Industry: Telecom/Integrated Telecommunication Services
Market Cap: $16.2 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.57%
12-Month Total Return: -0.30%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$51

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate WEC ENERGY GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • WEC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 64.4%. 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 significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Multi-Utilities industry. The net income increased by 44.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $126.30 million to $182.50 million.
  • WEC ENERGY GROUP INC'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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, WEC ENERGY GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.58 versus $2.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.72 versus $2.58).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $357.30 million or 14.04% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, WEC ENERGY GROUP INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 21.02%.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that WEC's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Despite the stock's decline during the last year, it is still somewhat more expensive (in proportion to its earnings over the last year) than most other stocks in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays offset this slight negative.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WEC

 


WM Chart WM data by YCharts

25. Waste Management
(WM - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Environmental & Facilities Services
Market Cap: $23.6 billion
12-Month Dividend Yield: 2.91%
12-Month Total Return: 5.8%

BMO Rating/Price Target: not rated

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate WASTE MANAGEMENT INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • 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 Services & Supplies industry average. The net income increased by 24.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $270.00 million to $335.00 million.
  • 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 Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, WASTE MANAGEMENT INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 38.36% is the gross profit margin for WASTE MANAGEMENT INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 9.97% is above that of the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was trading a year ago, WM's share price has not changed very much due to (a) the relatively weak year-over-year performance of the overall market, (b) the company's stagnant earnings, and (c) other mixed results. 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.
  • WASTE MANAGEMENT INC has improved earnings per share by 27.6% 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, WASTE MANAGEMENT INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.80 versus $0.21 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 8.2% in earnings ($2.57 versus $2.80).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WM

 


XEL Chart XEL data by YCharts

26. Xcel Energy
(XEL - Get Report)
Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Electric Utilities
Market Cap: $18.4 billion
Annual Dividend Yield: 3.54%
12-Month Total Return: 4.8%

BMO Rating/Price Target: Market Perform/$37

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate XCEL ENERGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • XEL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • XCEL ENERGY INC has improved earnings per share by 15.1% 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, XCEL ENERGY INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.03 versus $1.91 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.10 versus $2.03).
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 15.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $368.58 million to $426.46 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $980.88 million or 1.66% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, XCEL ENERGY INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -7.28%.
  • 36.74% is the gross profit margin for XCEL ENERGY INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 14.69% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: XEL