3 Buy-Rated Dividend Stocks Taking The Lead: VLY, MPW, GPT

TheStreet Ratings' stock model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Our Buy, Hold or Sell ratings designate how we expect these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.

While plenty of high-yield opportunities exist, investors must always consider the safety of their dividend and the total return potential of their investment. It is not uncommon for a struggling company to suspend high-yielding dividends which could subsequently result in precipitous share price declines.

TheStreet Ratings' stock rating model views dividends favorably, but not so much that other factors are disregarded. Our model gauges the relationship between risk and reward in several ways, including: the pricing drawdown as compared to potential profit volatility, i.e. how much one is willing to risk in order to earn profits?; the level of acceptable volatility for highly performing stocks; the current valuation as compared to projected earnings growth; and the financial strength of the underlying company as compared to its stock's valuation as compared to its stock's performance.

These and many more derived observations are then combined, ranked, weighted, and scenario-tested to create a more complete analysis. The result is a systematic and disciplined method of selecting stocks. As always, stock ratings should not be treated as gospel — rather, use them as a starting point for your own research.

The following pages contain our analysis of 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Buy."

Valley National Bancorp

Dividend Yield: 4.90%

Valley National Bancorp (NYSE: VLY) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.90%.

Valley National Bancorp operates as the holding company for the Valley National Bank that provides commercial, retail, trust, and investment services. The company operates through Commercial Lending, Consumer Lending, and Investment Management segments. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.00.

The average volume for Valley National Bancorp has been 1,828,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Valley National Bancorp has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 7.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Valley National Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and 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:
  • VLY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 22.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $31.99 million to $39.03 million.
  • The gross profit margin for VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 81.71%. 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 18.29% trails the industry average.
  • VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP has improved earnings per share by 7.1% 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, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP reported lower earnings of $0.43 versus $0.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.64 versus $0.43).
  • VLY has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 10.60% from its price level of one year ago. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.

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Medical Properties

Dividend Yield: 5.90%

Medical Properties (NYSE: MPW) shares currently have a dividend yield of 5.90%.

Medical Properties Trust, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. It acquires, develops, and invests in healthcare facilities; and leases healthcare facilities to healthcare operating companies and healthcare providers. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.27.

The average volume for Medical Properties has been 2,954,700 shares per day over the past 30 days. Medical Properties has a market cap of $3.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 36.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Medical Properties as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 35.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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. 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.
  • MEDICAL PROPERTIES TRUST has improved earnings per share by 41.2% 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, MEDICAL PROPERTIES TRUST increased its bottom line by earning $0.62 versus $0.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.95 versus $0.62).
  • 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 61.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $35.90 million to $57.93 million.

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Gramercy Property

Dividend Yield: 4.50%

Gramercy Property (NYSE: GPT) shares currently have a dividend yield of 4.50%.

Gramercy Property Trust, Inc. is an equity real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It makes investments in industrial and office properties to create its portfolio. The firm was formerly known as Gramercy Capital Corp.

The average volume for Gramercy Property has been 2,527,400 shares per day over the past 30 days. Gramercy Property has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 29.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Gramercy Property as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GPT's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 145.7%. 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.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, GPT's share price has jumped by 30.06%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, GPT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $21.75 million or 17.92% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GRAMERCY PROPERTY TRUST has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -65.75%.
  • GRAMERCY PROPERTY TRUST has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from 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, GRAMERCY PROPERTY TRUST swung to a loss, reporting -$0.25 versus $0.64 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.12 versus -$0.25).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 23425.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.00 million to -$0.93 million.

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