As investors look for places to find dividend yield, they should not overlook the quality of these investments. Many investors have turned to more risky investments as they chase yields. However, there are still high quality stocks with high yield trading at a reasonable value. We are using the S&P ranking system to determine high quality stocks with a dividend yield of 3.0% and above.
The Standard & Poor's (S&P) Earnings and Dividend Ranking System measures the historical growth of earnings and dividends. Those companies with high growth in earnings and dividends rank higher than companies whose earnings and dividends grow more slowly or not at all. The system measures growth, stability within the trendline, and cyclicality. From these, scores for earnings and dividends are determined. The Standard & Poor's Earnings and Dividend Ranking System have seven grades: A+, A, and A- are above average; B+ is average; and B, B-, and C are below average. We are only including above average A to A+ stocks as high quality.
Adding the common value metrics such as price to cash flow helps to identify companies worthy of investing for yield. All of these companies have a good Roe and their enterprise value is greater than their current market capitalization. The table of stocks with details is shown below and a discussion of each stock follows.
Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) is ranked as an A rating by S&P. It is trading at $50 with a dividend yield of 3.5%. DRI has a price to cash flow ratio of 8.36, lowest on the list and a PEG ratio of 1.21. It has a projected EPS growth of 12.5% over the next 3 to 5 years. DRI missed its Nov-Q EPS estimate of $0.42 by 1 cent. Sales rose 6.1% to $1.83B, driven by strong same-store sales at Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse. However, same-store sales at Olive Garden decreased 2.5%. Although DRI plans to improve its core menu offerings and remodel older Olive Garden restaurants, it will take some time for these steps to show positive results. Investors will get paid 3.5% while DRI makes these improvements.
Chesapeake Utilities Corp (NYSE:CPK) is ranked as an A rating by S&P. It is trading at $42.35 with a dividend yield of 3.26%. CPK has a price to cash flow ratio of 8.64 and a PEG ratio of 1.26. It has projected EPS growth of 12% over the next 3 to 5 years. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, a utility company engaged in natural gas distribution, transmission and marketing, electric distribution, propane gas distribution and wholesale marketing, and other related services, reported a net income of $2.4 million, or $0.25 per share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011, compared to $1.63 million, or $0.17 per share, for the same quarter ended September 30, 2010. CPK has the third highest operating margin (6.9%) in the utilities industry.
California Water Services Group (NYSE:CWT) owns six operating subsidiaries: California Water Service Company (Cal Water), New Mexico Water Service Company (New Mexico Water), Washington Water Service Company (Washington Water), Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc. (Hawaii Water), and CWS Utility Services and HWS Utility Services LLC. It is ranked as an A- stock by S&P. It is trading at $18.80 with a dividend yield of 3.46%. CWT has a price to cash flow ratio of 8.67 and a PEG ratio of 1.53. It has a projected EPS growth of 12.4% over the next 3 to 5 years. CWT is your classic boring dividend stock that keeps paying year after year.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) is ranked A- by S&P. GE is a conglomerate with a huge $190 billion market cap. GE cut its dividend during the economic crisis but has steadily increased it back to a current yield of 3.63%. GE's Q4 EPS of $0.39 was a penny above the Capital IQ consensus forecast. Healthcare came in below expectations on weakness in Europe. However, energy rose 19% on strong orders for gas turbines, which is a key growth market for GE. The 12-month target price is $22 based on the 2012 outlook. Analysts see potential for GE to resume its dividend from GE Capital to parent in 2012, and expect a significant dividend hike on common shares should this happen.
Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) is trading at $51.76 with a dividend yield of 4.85%. It has a projected EPS growth of 30% over the next 3 to 5 years. The growth from its crude oil pipelines and natural gas liquids (NGL) segments will drive earnings in 2012 and 2013. EPD will continue to benefit from the development of the shale plays and strong demand for NGLs from the petrochemical industry. EPD has a target price of $59, based on strong NGL fundamentals.
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.