It has been a busy week for analysts and high yield dividend stocks. Four stocks with dividend yields over 4% have been upgraded this week. These analysts follow each of these stocks very closely and we have included their reason for upgrading each stock. Buy ratings are a good starting point but it's important to research each stock before investing. Each of these four stocks has a dividend yield of 4% and was upgraded in February 2012.
Kite Realty (KRG)
RBC Capital upgraded Kite Realty (a REIT) from Sector Perform to Outperform and set a price target of $7 per share on February 9th. RBC Capital cited the strong first quarter results from Kite Realty as the reason for the upgrade. Kite Realty has a dividend yield of 4.6% and has not increased its dividend since it was cut in 2009.
Consolidated Communications (CNSL)
DA Davidson upgraded Consolidated Commons from Underperform to Neutral and set a price target of $19 per share on February 8th. DA Davidson cited the company's purchase of SureWest as the reason for the upgrade, explaining that the acquisition will improve the company's leverage and mix of business to decrease regulation and increase growth. Consolidated Communications has a dividend yield of 8.2% and has been paying the same annual dividend of $1.54 per share since 2007.
Leggett & Platt (LEG)
Hilliard Lyons upgraded Leggett & Platt from Neutral to Long-term Buy and set a price target of $28 per share on February 7th. Hilliard Lyons said that it was upgrading the stock based on valuation, improving capacity that will help gross margins and improving sales. Leggett & Platt has a dividend yield of 5.1% and has increased its dividend for 40 consecutive years. Its 5 year dividend growth rate is 10.8%.
HCP Inc (HCP)
Stifel Nicolaus upgraded HCP from a Hold to a Buy and set a price target of $46 per share on February 7th. Stifel Nicolaus based its upgrade on a more favorable outlook for healthcare REITs. HCP has a dividend yield of 4.7% which is well below its 5 year yield average of 6.1%. HCP has increased its dividend for 19 consecutive years and its 5 year dividend growth rate is 2.4%.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.