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These five mid-cap stocks boast dividend yields of over 3 percent and are rated a “Buy” or better by at least one analyst. In this article, I analyze some basic metrics to see how each company compares to its industry peers to determine if the stocks merit additional consideration by investors. IRM SCG are buys right now while RSG, SEE, CVC are buys once their share prices demonstrate a wider margin of safety.

Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE:IRM) – This records management, data protection and recovery services provider is currently trading near $30 a share. It traded near the lower end of its 52-week range of $22.08 a year ago and near the higher end of $35.79 in late April through July. A purchase of 100 shares placed five years ago at $28.74 would be up 3.27 percent today. The same purchase ten years ago would be up 131.02 percent, excluding reinvested dividends and fees.

Its dividend yield is 3.5 percent or $1 a share. Its payout ratio is 45 percent. The company started paying dividends just last year. IRM’s quarterly earnings growth was not available, but its quarterly revenue growth is 5.6 percent, year over year. Earnings per share are $1.98, and price to earnings ratio is 14.98. The company’s market capitalization is almost $5.5 billion.

Analyst recommendations trend toward “Hold” with some “Buys” and “Strong Buys.” Stifel Nicolaus, which initiated coverage this year, downgraded its original “Buy” recommendation to “Hold” in late October.

IRM’s larger cap industry peer Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NASDAQ:ADP) is currently trading near $49 a share, which is in the middle of its 52-week range of $44.44 to $55.12. ADP saw its highs over the summer but fell sharply to near its low in early August. ADP’s dividend yield is 3.3 percent or $1.58, and its payout ratio is 56 percent. ADP’s dividend history dates to 1983 and is a five-star Dividend All Star. ADP’s quarterly earnings growth is 8.7 percent year over year. Earning per share are $2.57, and price to earnings ratio is 18.98, which is slightly lower than the industry average. The company’s market capitalization is over $28 billion. Analyst recommendations of ADP also trend toward “Hold,” though coverage is more comprehensive and includes almost as many “Buys/Strong Buys.”

While ADP is a more established dividend stock, investors looking to diversify into mid-cap, dividend paying tech stocks should keep an eye on this business software and services provider’s performance, particularly as the economy improves. Its dividend is attractive, its price to earnings ratio is lower than its industry average, and the company is the dominant player in its industry.

SCANA Corp. (NYSE:SCG) – This South Carolina electricity retailer and wholesaler is currently trading near $42, which is toward the higher end of its 52-week range of $34.64 to $43.19. It trader near its low on Aug. 8. Five years ago SCG closed at $40.66, and ten years ago it closed at $26.98.

Its dividend yield is 4.70percent or $1.94, and its payout ratio is 65 percent. SCG is a four-star ranked Dividend All Star, boasting ten years of dividend increases. Its quarterly earnings growth is 4 percent year over year. Earnings per share are $2.97, and its price to earnings ratio of 14.12 is slightly higher than its industry average of 13.91. The company’s market capitalization is almost $5.5 billion. Analyst recommendations are split evenly between “Strong Buy” and “Hold,” with a couple of “Buys” and an “Underperform.”

Its competitor Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) is currently trading near $34 a share, which is in the middle of its 52-week range of $30.02 to $36.47. NU also plummeted on Aug. 8. It traded closer to its high in late May and again in mid July. Its dividend yield of 3.90 percent or $1.30 is also attractive, though it is not as high as SCG’s. NU’s payout ratio is 47 percent. Quarterly earnings declined by 10.50 percent year over year. Earnings per share are $2.31, and price to earnings ratio of 14.57 is also a little higher than the diversified utilities industry average. NU’s market capitalization is almost 6 billion. Most analyst ratings are “Hold,” though many rate this stock a “Strong Buy” or “Buy” with an “Underperform.”

SCG is a nice dividend prospect for income investors. Its yield is attractive and its track record is strong.

Republic Services Inc. (NYSE:RSG) – This solid waste collection and recycling service is currently trading near $27 a share, which is in the middle of its 52-week range of $24.72 to $33.10. It traded near its high in late May and near its low on Aug. 8. A purchase of 100 shares five years ago would be down 3.71 percent today. The same purchase made ten years ago would be up 132.10 percent.

RSG’s dividend yield is 3.40 percent or $0.88 a share. Its payout ratio is 57 percent. The company’s payout ratio is 57 percent. RSG is a three-star Dividend All Star with five consecutive years of increasing dividends. Quarterly earnings growth is 44.20 percent, and earnings per share are $144. Its price to earnings ratio is 18.65, which is slightly higher than the industry average of 17.93. The company’s market capitalization is almost $10 billion.

Analyst recommendations trend toward “Buy” and “Strong Buy.”

Its larger cap competitor Waste Management Inc. (NYSE:WM) is currently trading near $31 a share. It has ranged in price from $27.75 to $39.69 over the past 52 weeks, reaching its low in August after trading near its high in February and March and again in summer. Five years ago, WM closed at $37.12, and ten years ago, it closed at $29.25.

WM’s dividend yield is 4.5 percent or $1.36, and its payout ratio is 65 percent. WM has paid dividends since 1998. It has increased its payments for the past five consecutive years and is a three-star ranked Dividend All Star. Quarterly earnings growth is 11.5 percent, and earnings per share are $2.05. Price to earnings ratio of 14.82 is less than the industry average. WM’s market capitalization is $14 billion.

RSG is trading at an attractive price and offers a consistent dividend, though its yield is less than the larger cap WM. Before jumping in, however, further study of RSG’s financial statements is prudent. WM may prove to be the better choice for dividend investors.

Sealed Air Corp. (NYSE:SEE) – This manufacturer of packaging for cook-in-bag foods, vacuum-packed foods, bubble wrap and other packaging materials is currently trading near $17 a share. It has ranged from $15.05 to $28.77 over the past 52 weeks, reaching its annual highs in February and March and trading near its low in October. A purchase of 100 shares made five years ago at $29.70 would be down 43.69 percent, though a stock split would have doubled the holding. The same purchase made ten years ago would be down 25.14 percent.

SEE’s dividend yield is 3.2 percent or $0.52. Its payout ratio is 37 percent. The company’s dividend history dates to 1980. The company has shown a year over year decline in quarterly earnings of 3.70 percent. Earnings per shares are $1.40, and its price to earnings ratio of 11.95 is higher than its industry average of 10.13. Its market capitalization is over $3.2 billion.

Analyst recommendations trend toward “Hold” with some “Strong Buys/Buys.”

Its competitor Bemis Company Inc. (NYSE:BMS) is currently trading near $28 a share, which is toward the lower end of its 52-week range of $27.21 to $34.40. It reached it higher end of the range in July but fell sharply in August, again in October, and again earlier this month. A purchase of 100 shares made five years ago would be down 15.73 perent today. The same purchase ten years ago would be up 13.74 percent.

Its dividend yield is 3.50 percent or $0.96, and its payout ratio is 48 percent. BMS is a four-star ranked Dividend All Star with ten consecutive years of payment increases. Quarterly earnings declined by 9.10 percent year over year. Earnings per share are $1.99, and price to earnings ratio is 14.27, which is notably higher than the industry average. Its market capitalization is almost $3 billion.

Analyst recommendations trend toward “Hold.” A few rate BMS as “Buy/Strong Buy,” and a couple rate it an “Underperform.”

Neither of these stocks is at the top of the performance list, though they merit further consideration as economic conditions improve.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE:CVC) – This telecommunications, media and cable company is currently trading near $15 a share. It has shown some price volatility over the past 52 weeks, ranging from $14.18 to $38.08. CVC traded near its high for the first half of the 2011 and dropped over the July and August. Had an investor purchased 100 shares five years ago, the holding would be down 8.37 percent today. Had the purchase been made ten years ago, the holding would be down almost 40 percent.

CVC’s dividend yield is 4.10 percent or $0.60. Its payout ratio is 47 percent. It is a four-star Dividend All Star with dividend payments increasing each year for the past ten years. Quarterly earnings are down 64.90 percent year over year. Earnings per share are $1.19, and price to earnings ratio is 12.36, which is lower than the industry average of 15.11. The company’s market capitalization is over $4 billion.

Analyst recommendations trend toward “Buy/Strong Buy” with several “Holds” and a couple of “Underperforms.”

Its much larger industry peer DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is currently trading near $46. It has ranged from $39.12 to $53.40 over the past 52 weeks, trading near its high in July and near its low in August and September. Five years ago, DTV closed at $22.55. DTV was not trading ten years ago. DTV does not pay a dividend. It posted quarterly earnings growth of 7.70 percent. Earnings per share are $3.21, and price to earnings ratio is 14.24. The company’s market capitalization is over $32 million. Analyst recommendations trend toward “Buy” and “Hold” with a couple of “Strong Buys” and a “Sell.”

CVC is not a stock I am ready to call a buy, though it offers investors a nice dividend with a track record. It is trading at a discount to its earnings relative to its industry, but the metrics push for more research.



Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 5 'Buy Rated' Dividend Kings To Consider