With markets showing volatile movements in recent sessions – down one day, up the next – some of Wall Street’s analysts are showing a renewed interest in high-yield dividends. Not that they have ever shied away from these steady income generators; rather, the market boom of this past summer led the Street to focus on share appreciation as the source of profits. Market fluctuations since early September have analysts and investors both taking a closer look at defensive plays.The research analysts at JMP Securities have been searching the markets for the ‘right’ buys, and their picks bear a closer look. They’ve been tapping reliable, high-yielding dividend payers as an investment play of choice. The TipRanks database sheds some additional light on three of JMP’s picks – stocks with dividends yielding 7% or better – and that the investment firm sees with 20% upside or better. Annaly Capital Management (NLY)The first name on the list from JMP is Annaly Capital Management. The company inhabits the mortgage-backed security niche, with $104 billion in total assets, primarily mortgage securities backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Annaly is one of the market’s largest REITs.The corona crisis was hard on Annaly, as the economic crush of the first quarter made it difficult for loan holders to make payments. As the economy bounced back in Q2, however, Annaly’s fortunes reversed and the steep losses from Q1 turned into modest gains. Q2 revenues came in at $979 million, with EPS, at 27 cents, beating the 23-cent forecast. Looking ahead, the forecast is a 26-cent EPS for Q3. It’s important to note that Annaly has beaten the earnings forecast in each of the past three quarters.Turning to the dividend, Annaly has remained a reliable dividend payer over the past several years, with a history of adjusting the payment to keep it sustainable. The current dividend is 22 cents per common share, and was paid out at the end of September; at that rate, the yield is 12.27%. In an era of near-zero rates from the Fed, NLY’s dividend return is sky-high.JMP analyst Steven DeLaney is impressed with NLY. The 5-star analyst pointed out, “The combination of dividends paid during the [second] quarter and the sterling book value gain—the company’s best quarterly gain since the Great Recession of 2008-09 […] We believe NLY shares should trade at a meaningful premium to peers based on the company’s size, scale, and, now, its internal management structure."DeLaney rates the stock an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with an $8.50 price target. This figure suggests a 20% upside potential from current levels. (To watch DeLaney’s track record, click here)Overall, there have been 8 recent analyst reviews of NLY shares, breaking down to 5 Buys and 3 Holds, giving the stock an analyst consensus rating of Moderate Buy. The $8.04 average price target implies a 13% growth potential from the current trading price of $7.10. (See NLY stock analysis on TipRanks)StoneCastle Financial (BANX)Next up, StoneCastle, is a management investment company, with a portfolio that includes moves into alternative capital securities and community banks. The company focuses its investment activity on capital preservation and current income generation, committing to returning profits to shareholders. StoneCastle’s investment portfolio totals over $133 million, of which 32% is credit securitization, 26% is debt securities, and 15% is term loans.During the second quarter, BANX saw over $2.6 million in net investment income, coming out to 41 cents per share. The company’s net asset value rose to $20.27 per share at the close of the quarter; that figure was $20.93 by September 30.BANX paid out a 38-cent quarterly dividend in Q2, a payment which the company has held up reliably – with one blip upwards in December 2018 – for the past three years. At $1.52 annually, the dividend yields an impressive 8%.5-star analyst Devin Ryan covers this stock for JMP, and he likes what he sees. “The company invested a healthy $36M during the [second] quarter, which included some higher yielding and more attractive securities, which drove the sequential increase in net investment income… Given a strong quarter of investing, particularly into attractive yielding securities, net investment income stepped up solidly in 2Q20. Moving forward, given the strong 2H20 outlook for deployment, we believe it is likely that net investment income will continue to move higher… BANX continues to more than cover its current quarterly dividend of $0.38, and we believe this will continue to be the case in the coming quarters,” Ryan opined. Ryan’s is the only recent review on record for this stock, which is currently selling for $18.15. He rates BANX an Outperform (i.e. Buy), with a $22 price target that indicates a possible 21% upside for the next 12 months. (To watch Ryan’s track record, click here)BRT Realty Trust (BRT)Last but not least is BRT Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust focused on multifamily properties. The company acquires, owns, and manages apartment dwellings, and currently boasts a portfolio of 39 properties across 11 states, totaling over 11,000 individual apartments. The company has felt a serious hurt from the ongoing corona crisis, and reported a net loss of 25 cents per share for the calendar second quarter this year. At the same time, BRT did manage to collect 98% of rents in Q2, and saw average occupancy remain above 93%. This bodes well for the company, as it does not have to carry and maintain empty or non-paying units.Also on a positive note, BRT kept up its dividend payment. The company has been gradually raising the quarterly payout for the past three years, and the current dividend, of 22 cents per common share, annualizes to 88 cents and gives a yield of 7.1%. This is more than triple the average yield found among S&P-listed companies, and more than double BRT’s dividend-paying peers in the financial sector.JMP’s Aaron Hecht sees BRT holding a solid position in its niche, writing, “With a lower price point product spread across Sunbelt markets, the BRT portfolio is generating strong results compared to peers with high-density urban market exposure… Rent growth averaged 2.2% for renewals and 0.2% for new leases, while minimal concessions were given. Rate growth and occupancy were similar in July and August 2020 compared with 2Q20.”Hecht rates the stock an Outperform (i.e. Buy), with a $15 price target that implies a one-year upside of 20%. (To watch Hecht’s track record, click here.)Overall, BRT has a Moderate Buy rating from the analyst consensus, based on an even split between Buy and Hold reviews. The stock is selling for $12.56, and the average price target of $13.25 suggests a modest gain of 5%. (See BRT stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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