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Interested in following smaller companies? Do you like to be able to rely on a stock's dividend income? Do you prefer stocks that analysts rate as 'Buy'? Do you prefer companies with strong profits? For ideas on how to start your own search, we ran a screen.

The Net Margin is a profitability metric that illustrates, by percentage, how much of every dollar earned gets turned into a bottom line profit. This is just one of many profitability metrics used by investors and analysts to better understand what the company is being left with at the end of the day. Generally, a firm that can expand its net profit margins over a period of time will see its stock price rise as well due to the trend of increasing profitability. Net Margin = Net Income/Total Revenue

EPS growth (earnings per share growth) illustrates the growth of earnings per share over time. EPS growth rates help investors identify stocks that are increasing or decreasing in profitability. This profitability metric is generally a key driver in the price of the stock as it directly correlates to the profitability of the company as a whole.

We first looked for small cap dividend stocks. We then looked for businesses that analysts rate as "Buy" (2 < mean recommendation < 3). We then looked for businesses that have strong bottom line profitability (Net Margin [TTM]>10%)(1-year fiscal EPS growth rate>10%). We did not screen out any sectors.

Do you think these small-cap stocks deserve to grow higher? Use our list to help with your own analysis.

1) Legacy Reserves Lp (NASDAQ:LGCY)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$1.25B
Beta:1.06

Legacy Reserves Lp has a Dividend Yield of 8.52% and Payout Ratio of 69.41% and Analysts' Rating of 1.60 and Net Margin of 39.19% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 508.12%. The short interest was 0.34% as of 05/24/2012. Legacy Reserves LP, an independent oil and natural gas limited partnership, engages in the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties primarily located in the Permian Basin, Mid-Continent, and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. As of December 31, 2010, it owned interests in producing oil and natural gas properties in 370 fields in the Permian Basin, Texas Panhandle, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and several other states; operated 2,132 gross productive wells; and owned non-operated interests in 3,227 gross productive wells, as well as had proved reserves of approximately 52.8 million barrels of crude oil equivalent.

2) EastGroup Properties Inc. (NYSE:EGP)

Sector:Financial
Industry:REIT - Industrial
Market Cap:$1.42B
Beta:1.14

EastGroup Properties Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 4.18% and Payout Ratio of 250.81% and Analysts' Rating of 2.50 and Net Margin of 13.08% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 21.35%. The short interest was 4.71% as of 05/24/2012. EastGroup Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), focuses on the development, acquisition, and operation of industrial properties in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, it owned 202 industrial properties and 1 office building, as well as approximately 1.7 million square feet properties in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.

3) US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECOL)

Sector:Industrial Goods
Industry:Waste Management
Market Cap:$317.30M
Beta:1.16

US Ecology, Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 4.16% and Payout Ratio of 66.83% and Analysts' Rating of 2.50 and Net Margin of 12.77% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 45.71%. The short interest was 2.61% as of 05/24/2012. US Ecology, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides waste treatment, disposal, recycling, and transportation services to commercial and government entities in the United States. The company offers treatment and disposal services for radioactive, hazardous, polychlorinated biphenyl, and non-hazardous industrial wastes. Its customers include oil refineries, chemical production facilities, manufacturers, electric utilities, steel mills, biotechnology companies, military installations, waste brokers/aggregators, and medical and academic institutions.

4) Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. (NYSE:ARI)

Sector:Financial
Industry:REIT - Diversified
Market Cap:$327.68M
Beta:-

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 10.04% and Payout Ratio of 107.95% and Analysts' Rating of 2.10 and Net Margin of 52.82% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 58.15%. The short interest was 3.88% as of 05/24/2012. Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. operates as a commercial real estate finance company in the United States. It originates, acquires, invests in, and manages performing commercial first mortgage loans, commercial mortgage-backed securities, mezzanine financings, and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. The company is qualified as a real estate investment trust (REIT) under the Internal Revenue Code.

5) Oritani Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:ORIT)

Sector:Financial
Industry:Regional - Northeast Banks
Market Cap:$635.39M
Beta:0.71

Oritani Financial Corp. has a Dividend Yield of 4.29% and Payout Ratio of 78.26% and Analysts' Rating of 2.30 and Net Margin of 33.31% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 253.16%. The short interest was 5.53% as of 05/24/2012. Oritani Financial Corp. operates as the holding company for Oritani Bank that provides retail and commercial banking services to individual and business customers in New Jersey. The company offers various deposit products, including demand deposit accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market deposit accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and time deposits. Its loan portfolio comprises multi-family and commercial real estate loans, one- to four-family residential mortgage loans, second mortgage and equity loans, construction loans, business loans, and consumer loans.

6) Computer Programs & Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CPSI)

Sector:Technology
Industry:Healthcare Information Services
Market Cap:$623.12M
Beta:0.42

Computer Programs & Systems Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 3.27% and Payout Ratio of 69.49% and Analysts' Rating of 1.80 and Net Margin of 14.70% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 36.98%. The short interest was 5.75% as of 05/24/2012. Computer Programs and Systems, Inc., a healthcare information technology company, designs, develops, markets, installs, and supports computerized information technology systems to small and midsize hospitals in the United States. Its enterprise-wide system automates the management of clinical and financial data across the primary functional areas of a hospital. The company offers services that enable customers to outsource certain data-related business processes in the areas of clinical care, revenue cycle management, cost control, and regulatory compliance.

7) Capstead Mortgage Corp. (NYSE:CMO)

Sector:Financial
Industry:REIT - Diversified
Market Cap:$1.28B
Beta:0.48

Capstead Mortgage Corp. has a Dividend Yield of 12.59% and Payout Ratio of 103.26% and Analysts' Rating of 2.20 and Net Margin of 66.67% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 15.07%. The short interest was 4.36% as of 05/24/2012. Capstead Mortgage Corporation operates as a self-managed real estate investment trust. It invests in leveraged portfolio of residential mortgage pass-through securities consisting of adjustable-rate mortgage securities issued and guaranteed by government-sponsored enterprises or by an agency of the federal government. The company qualifies as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes. It generally would not be subject to federal corporate income taxes if it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income to its stockholders.

8) Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. (NYSE:HTGC)

Sector:Financial
Industry:Business Development Company]
Market Cap:$528.03M
Beta:1.47

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 9.04% and Payout Ratio of 62.62% and Analysts' Rating of 1.70 and Net Margin of 78.51% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 796.64%. The short interest was 5.27% as of 05/24/2012. Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. is a private equity, venture capital, and venture debt firm specializing in providing debt and equity to privately held venture capital and private equity backed companies and select publicly-traded companies. The firm is also a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC). It offers growth and emerging growth capital and structured debt financing to companies at all stages of development and specializes in venture debt in the forms of senior secured and subordinated working capital loans, senior revolving loans and bridge loans, venture leasing, and select direct equity capital.

9) Northwest Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:NWBI)

Sector:Financial
Industry:Savings & Loans
Market Cap:$1.14B
Beta:0.74

Northwest Bancshares, Inc. has a Dividend Yield of 4.12% and Payout Ratio of 71.73% and Analysts' Rating of 2.10 and Net Margin of 19.21% and Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 21.27%. The short interest was 4.75% as of 05/24/2012. Northwest Bancshares, Inc. operates as the holding company for Northwest Savings Bank that offers various banking and consumer finance services. It offers personal and business deposits, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, term certificate accounts, and individual retirement accounts. The company's loan portfolio comprises one- to four-family residential real estate loans, multi-family residential and commercial real estate loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, and commercial business loans, as well as consumer loans, including automobile loans, sales finance loans, unsecured personal loans, credit card loans, and loans secured by deposit accounts.

*Company profiles were sourced from Finviz. Financial data was sourced from Finviz and Yahoo Finance.

Source: 9 Profitable Small Cap Dividend Stocks Rated 'Buy'