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: 5.00%

Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ: LAMR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.00%.

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 13.56.

The average volume for Lamar Advertising has been 609,800 shares per day over the past 30 days. Lamar Advertising has a market cap of $4.6 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 9.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 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 ($2.75 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.

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.

General Motors

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

General Motors (NYSE: GM) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

General Motors Company designs, builds, and sells cars, crossovers, trucks, and automobile parts worldwide. It operates through GM North America, GM Europe, GM International Operations, GM South America, and GM Financial segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.77.

The average volume for General Motors has been 12,849,000 shares per day over the past 30 days. General Motors has a market cap of $45.8 billion and is part of the automotive industry. Shares are down 13.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 General Motors as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, 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 ratings report include:
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. In comparison to the other companies in the Automobiles industry and the overall market, GENERAL MOTORS CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 204.04% to $3,308.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GENERAL MOTORS CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 12.57%.
  • GENERAL MOTORS CO'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, GENERAL MOTORS CO reported lower earnings of $1.64 versus $2.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.79 versus $1.64).
  • GM, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 9.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for GENERAL MOTORS CO is rather low; currently it is at 18.86%. Regardless of GM's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 3.49% trails the industry average.

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.

EPR Properties

Dividend Yield: 7.00%

EPR Properties (NYSE: EPR) shares currently have a dividend yield of 7.00%.

EPR Properties is a real estate investment trust. It invests in the real estate markets of United States and Canada. The firm develops, owns, leases and finances properties in select market segments primarily related to entertainment, education and recreation. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.56.

The average volume for EPR Properties has been 554,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. EPR Properties has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 6.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 EPR Properties 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 lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EPR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry average. The net income increased by 17.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $42.71 million to $50.20 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $64.42 million or 19.61% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.39%.
  • The gross profit margin for EPR PROPERTIES is currently very high, coming in at 73.12%. Regardless of EPR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EPR's net profit margin of 46.18% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • EPR PROPERTIES has improved earnings per share 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, EPR PROPERTIES reported lower earnings of $2.78 versus $3.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.91 versus $2.78).

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: