Reading the news about the stock markets, it pays to remember that the giant corporations – the Apples and the Microsofts, the Walmarts and the Home Depots – have a habit of taking up all the available oxygen in the room. That is, they hog the headlines, and can obscure a view of the larger picture.
That larger picture, examined with an eye for the unusual, can reveal some excellent stock deals. There are plenty of bargain deals in the equity markets, and they offer plenty of reasons for investors to look twice. We’ve used the TipRanks Stock Screener tool to search the database and find three that fit the profile, with a special focus on dividend stocks.
By choosing the right filter settings, we could focus directly on stocks with solid upside potential, a Buy rating, and a dividend yield of over 5%. That last is particularly important, as a high dividend yield indicates a stock that will return income to investors at rates well above the average. A further refinement of the search, to narrow it down to small and micro-cap stocks, weeded out any large companies that likely already get plenty of press attention. The resulting search brought back 69 stocks that matched the profile – a far more manageable number for market research. We’ve chosen three of the high-yielding dividend stocks from that short list for a closer examination. Let's take a closer look:
Cypress Energy Partners (CELP)
The energy industry in North America is booming – that’s a fact. Extraction of oil and natural gas is big business across the United States – in Texas, the Dakotas, Appalachia – and in the Canadian West. There’s no lack of customers, as the US, in September, saw its first-ever month as a net oil exporter, and markets are expanding for natural gas, a cleaner burning alternative to petroleum derivatives.
All of this gas and oil, and the customers that depend on it, would come to nothing if it weren’t for the midstream companies. These are the players who actually move the product – they control pipelines; tankers on road, rail, and water; terminals; and storage facilities. The midstream companies, while they don’t get the same attention as the extraction companies, make the business possible. Cypress Energy inhabits this sphere.
The company operates in several segments of the midstream niche. It offers pipeline inspection and testing services across the United States, as well as water sourcing, gathering, disposal, and recycling facilities in the Bakken oil fields of the Dakotas. This micro-cap (market cap of $105 million) company reported strong financials, with Q3 revenues coming in at $108.9 million and net income at $5.5 million, while net debt was deleveraged by 17%.
But for investors, the most important part was the dividend. For the quarter, CELP paid out 21 cents per share, or 84 cents annualized and a 10% yield, consistent with its payouts for the previous 10 quarters. That’s right – Cypress has maintained its dividend at almost 5x the S&P’s average yield for over two and a half years. It’s a flashing sign to investors that this stock is poised to give a solid return. This is backed up by the stock’s impressive 56% gain in 2019.
In line with our search profile, CELP has only one recent analyst review, but that is a firm Buy. B. Riley analyst Tom Curran wrote last week, “Our confidence in Cypress Energy Partners' 2020 growth potential … has been significantly bolstered by the partnership's 3Q19 beat and outlook update… [and] research we have done that quantifies the U.S. oil and gas midstream's dual secular uptrends in annual total pipeline mileage and total miles inspected per year…”
Green Plains Partners LP (GPP)
Our second stock, Green Plains, operates in an industry adjacent to oil and gas midstreaming. GPP provides storage, transport, and terminal services to the fuel industry, with a network of storage tanks and transport assets for ethanol and other volatile fuels.
GPP’s primary focus is on ethanol. The company owns 32 facilities in 5 Midwest and Great Plains farming states, plus Tennessee and Texas, and can handle 1.1 billion gallons per year. Terminal facilities across the South, and more than 2,800 rail tankers with a total capacity of 85 million gallons, extend the company’s ethanol transport network.
Weak margins in Q3 definitely weighed on the company, but the outlook is better moving forward. CEO Todd Becker said, in the Q3 earnings conference call last month, that margins turned positive during Q4 and are expected to hold at positive or breakeven levels through mid-2020. He points out, “Our balance sheet has allowed us to be patient,” and important point, as the company has available $254 million in cash and cash equivalents, plus $260 million accessible in revolving credit agreements.
From the standpoint of returns to investors, especially on dividends, GPP truly stands out. The company raised its dividend payment each quarter back in 2017, from 43 cents quarterly to 48 cents, and has held it steady at 48 ever since. The current annualized payment, $1.90, gives the dividend the tremendous yield of 14.1%. This is 7x the ~2% average yield of S&P listed companies, and the long history of consistent payments or incremental increases, plus the company’s strong cash position, are signs that the dividend is sustainable.
Green Plains’ only recent analyst review comes from RBC Capital analyst Elvira Scotto. The five-star analyst published her note on the stock back in September, and strongly reiterated her stance in early November. In her September comments, she wrote, “We believe GPP's contract structure provides highly visible cash flow in the near-term. Longer-term we believe GPP can grow and further diversify through acquisitions given its strong balance sheet.”
Advanced Emissions Solutions (ADES)
The energy boom has resulted, of course, in increased use of fuels of all sorts, from oil to natural gas to ethanol – and even to coal. ADES works that last segment, providing technologies and solutions to control plant emissions pollutants from coal-fired power generation. The company also offers water purification technologies for industrial and municipal uses.
The popular push toward a cleaner environment, and the political pull of environmentalist groups, has turned emissions cleaning solutions into a big business. ADES is a profitable company – not always a given in a competitive business with low margins. In Q3, revenues rose from last year’s $5.1 million to the current $19.1 million. Net income dropped, however, slipping 29% to $3.9 million. The drop in revenues is attributable to a negative hit on the company from the increasing popularity of natural gas and other cleaning burning fuels. Remember here that ADES works heavily with coal-fired power plants. Shares price fell 14% after the quarterly release, reflecting investor unease with the loss in net income.
On a brighter spot for investors, however, ADES reported having $20.2 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand in September. While this was down 15% from the company’s cash position at the end of 2018, the spending was on shareholders. Over the course of 2019, ADES has been returning income to investors through dividends and buybacks. The dividend of 25 cents per quarter has been stable for over two years, and management’s actions this year shows a commitment to maintaining it. The $1 annualized payment gives a yield of 9.8%, a boon for investors, while the 43 % payout ratio shows that the dividend is easily sustainable.
H.C. Wainwright analyst Amit Dayal is bullish on ADES, writing on November 14, just after the earnings report was released, that management is confident that they can win and renew contracts above historical levels, and drive growth into the 15% to 20% range next year. He says, “We are projecting overall top line revenues of $74.5M in 2019 and expect these to rise to $111.3M in 2021…”
Dayal rates ADES as a Buy, with an $18 stock-price forecast. His target suggests an impressive 77% upside potential to the stock, indicating confidence that the recent slip in share price was a more of a blip. (To watch Dayal’s track record, click here)