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: 4.60%

Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ: LAMR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

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 14.63.

The average volume for Lamar Advertising has been 569,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lamar Advertising has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 0.7% 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 ($2.76 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 145.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $35.05 million to $85.97 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. 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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Duke Energy Corporation

Dividend Yield: 4.60%

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.60%.

Duke Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. It operates through three segments: Regulated Utilities, International Energy, and Commercial Power. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.70.

The average volume for Duke Energy Corporation has been 3,235,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Duke Energy Corporation has a market cap of $49.0 billion and is part of the utilities industry. Shares are down 0.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Duke Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins 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 ratings report include:
  • DUK's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 40.17% is the gross profit margin for DUKE ENERGY CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 14.37% trails the industry average.
  • DUKE ENERGY CORP has improved earnings per share by 8.8% 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $3.46 versus $3.63 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.59 versus $3.46).
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.07, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Electric Utilities industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.32 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, DUKE ENERGY CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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Chesapeake Lodging

Dividend Yield: 6.20%

Chesapeake Lodging (NYSE: CHSP) shares currently have a dividend yield of 6.20%.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust is a self-advised real estate investment trust organized in the state of Maryland in June 2009. The company focuses on investments primarily in upper-upscale hotels in major business and convention markets and premium select-service hotels in urban settings or unique locations in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.91.

The average volume for Chesapeake Lodging has been 400,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Chesapeake Lodging has a market cap of $1.5 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 1.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Chesapeake Lodging as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, reasonable 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 ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.1%. 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 $53.14 million or 36.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.44%.
  • CHESAPEAKE LODGING TRUST's earnings per share declined by 19.2% 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, CHESAPEAKE LODGING TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $1.01 versus $0.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.03 versus $1.01).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income has decreased by 5.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $28.69 million to $27.18 million.

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