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A considerable amount of data has been provided and so it should be relatively easy for an investor to scroll down the list and decide if the stock merits further attention. Investors should not base their decision on yield alone. There are many stocks that offer extremely high yields, but their performance over the years has been anything but spectacular. In some cases the total rate of return has been negative for the past 3-5 years. One should look at the robustness of the company, the dividend growth rate, the sustainability of the dividend and finally one should take a look at the company's dividend history. Companies with stellar records will do everything possible to avoid cutting the dividend in order to maintain this record. To help the novice investor get started, we have put out this guide, which could prove to be useful in the selection process. "Our suggested guidelines when searching for new investment ideas. It is OK to deploy some money into speculative plays such as First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) but betting the house is asking for trouble.

Company: United Technologies Corp (NYSE:UTX)

Brief Overview

  1. Percentage Held by Insiders = 0.8
  2. EPS 5 year growth rate = 5.8%
  3. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = -4.6%
  4. Net income (quarter vs quarter year ago) = 13.8%
  5. 5 year capital spending rate = - 6.97
  6. Sales 5 year growth rate = 1.31%
  7. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 44
  8. Quarterly Revenue Growth = - 4.6%
  9. Quarterly Earnings Growth = 0.8%
  10. Operating Cash Flow = 7.00B
  11. Beta = 1.16
  12. Percentage Held by Institutions = 83.9%
  13. Levered Free Cash Flow = -$6.9B

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 4979
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 4373
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 3829
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = 330
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 9446
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 8542
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 7635
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 7.02
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 6.49
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 5.88
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 58190
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 54326
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 52920
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 4.23
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 5.01
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 4.58
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 5.02
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 5.53

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 2.8
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average 03/2012 = 2.34
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth 03/2012 = 10.4

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 0.34
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average 03/2012 = 0.33

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 11.98
  2. ROE 5 Year Average 03/2012 = 22.08
  3. ROE 5 Year Average 12/2011 = 22.01
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average 03/2012 = 30.85
  5. Current Ratio = 1.52
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 1.29
  7. Quick Ratio = 0.97
  8. Cash Ratio = 0.45
  9. Interest Coverage Quarterly = 13.19

Company: Amazon.Com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Basic overview

  1. Profit margin = 0.69%
  2. Operating cash flow = 3.22B
  3. Levered free cash flow = 1.5B
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 29%
  5. Quarterly earnings growth = -96%
  6. Beta = 0.82
  7. Sales (quarter vs quarter year ago = 29.5%
  8. 5 year average = 35%
  9. EPS vs 1 year ago = -96%
  10. 5 year EPS growth rate = 5.6%
  11. 5 year capital spending growth rate = 55%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 631
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 1152
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 902
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 2082
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 2104
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 1573
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 3.74
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 3.83
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 2.96
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 48077
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 34204
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 24509
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 1.12
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 1.49
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 2.04
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 2.53
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 1.34

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 26.27
  2. 5 Year History EPS Growth = 16.2
  3. ROE 5 Year Average = 30.45
  4. Return on Investment = 5.43
  5. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 20.05
  6. Current Ratio = 1.10
  7. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 1.38
  8. Quick Ratio = 0.60
  9. Cash Ratio = 0.67
  10. Interest Coverage = 9.6

Company: Southern Company (NYSE:SO)

Brief Overview

  1. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 81
  2. Cash Flow 5-year Average = 4.41
  3. Profit Margin = 12.8%
  4. Operating Margin = 24.02%
  5. Quarterly Revenue Growth = -7.5%
  6. Quarterly Earnings Growth = -3.10%
  7. Beta = 0.12
  8. 5 year sales growth rate = 2.61%
  9. Sales vs 1 year ago = 1.2%
  10. EPS vs 1 year ago = 3.2%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 2268
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 2040
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 1708
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = 368
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 6392
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 5792
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 5297
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 5.01
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 4.66
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 4.62
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 17657
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 17456
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 15743
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 2.24
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 2.37
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 2.32
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 2.37
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 2.57

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 4.2
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average = 4.6
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth = 3.8

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio 03/2012 = 0.77
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.74

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 5.04
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 13.53
  3. Current Ratio = 0.96
  4. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.98
  5. Quick Ratio = 0.61
  6. Cash Ratio = 0.41
  7. Interest Coverage Quarterly = 3.77

Notes

This is one of the better utility players out there. However it would not hurt to wait for a pullback before jumping in. A good point of entry would be in the $44-45 ranges. As the markets are volatile, one should divide one's money into 2-3 lots and deploy one lot at a time.

Company: First Solar Inc

Basic Key Ratios

  1. Profit margin = 17.7%
  2. Quarterly earnings growth rate= 81.5%
  3. Quarterly revenue growth rate = 79.7%
  4. Beta = 1.6
  5. 52 week change = -80%
  6. Short percentage of float = 58.3%
  7. Sales vs 1 year ago = 7.9
  8. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = 79.7%
  9. 5 year sales growth rate = 66%
  10. EPS vs 1 year ago = 81.5%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = -39
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 664
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 640
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($millions) = -449
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 182
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 918
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 821
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 8.78
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 9.57
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 9.05
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 2766
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 2564
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 2066
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 1.53
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 4.24
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 7.53
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 7.68
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 6.01

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 15
  2. 5 Year History EPS Growth 12/2011 = 36.43
  3. ROE 5 Year Average 12/2011 = 21.08
  4. Return on Investment 12/2011 = 8.54
  5. Current Ratio 12/2011 = 2.48
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 3.72
  7. Quick Ratio = 2.2
  8. Cash Ratio = 1.33

Notes

  1. It sports a strong quarterly revenue and earnings growth rate of 79.7% and 81.5% respectively
  2. The short percentage of float increased from 55% to 58.3% in less than 15 days. This is a very high number, making it a perfect candidate for a short squeeze.
  3. It has a 5 year sales growth rate of 66%
  4. The stock has also taken a massive beating so some sort of relief rally could be due.
  5. A weekly close above 22.50 will turn the short to mid-term outlook to bullish
  6. However at this point in time this stock would also fall under the "speculative category"

Company: Alpha Natural resources (NYSE:ANR)

Basic overview

  1. Percentage held by Institutions = 79.9%
  2. Levered free cash flow = $565M
  3. Operating cash flow = $527M
  4. Quarterly revenue growth rate = 15.6%
  5. Beta = 2.49
  6. Book value = 23.04
  7. Short percentage of float = 14.7%
  8. 5 year sales growth rate = 32%
  9. 5 year capital spending growth rate = 44.2%
  10. Sales vs 1 quarter ago = 12.9%
  11. Long term debt to equity ratio = 0.58

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = -677
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 96
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 58
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 899
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 809
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 526
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 8.01
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 7.46
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 4.91
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 7109
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 3917
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 2496
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 0.45
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 2.63
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 1.98
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 2.17
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 1.57

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 5
  2. 5 Year History EPS Growth = 23.94
  3. ROE 5 Year Average = 12.81
  4. Current Ratio = 1.47
  5. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 2.38
  6. Quick Ratio = 1.13
  7. Cash Ratio = 0.76

Notes

  1. Despite its woes it has strong institutional support.
  2. It is trading $16.00 below book.
  3. Short percentage of float has increased from 9% in June to 12% in July and it now stands at 14.7%.
  4. It is attempting to put in a bottom right now and as long as it does not close below 5.75 on a weekly basis the picture will remain neutral. A weekly close above 9.00 will turn the outlook to bullish. At this point in time this stock would fall under the "speculative category."

EPS, company vs. industry, EPS surprises charts/data obtained from zacks.com. A major portion of the historical data used in this article was obtained from zacks.com. Earnings vs expectations, earnings and forecast and growth estimates sourced from smartmoney.com. Earnings estimates sourced from dailyfinance.com.

Disclaimer

This list of stocks is meant to serve as a starting point. Please do not treat this as a buying list. It is imperative that you do your due diligence and then determine if any of the above plays meet with your risk tolerance levels. The Latin maxim caveat emptor applies - let the buyer beware.

Source: An Array Of Speculative, Dividend And Growth Plays To Consider