Preferred Stocks: An Overview


A certain kind of stock, known as preferred stock, does not come with voting rights but pays dividends according to a predetermined timetable. Preferred stock is a kind of equity investment combining common stock and bond characteristics into a single investment vehicle. These characteristics include ownership in the firm as well as a consistent income. When investors want to increase their income and take advantage of favorable tax treatment, they acquire preferred stock.

The Mechanisms Behind Preferred Stock

It is usual practice to refer to preferred stock as a "hybrid security," meaning that it combines aspects of both common stock and bonds. It combines the predictability and consistency of the income payments associated with bonds with the equity ownership benefits associated with common stock, including the possibility that the value of the shares would increase over time.

Purchasing and Selling Preferred Stock

On the secondary market, preferred stocks may be bought and sold in the same manner as regular stocks. However, the fact that it may be sold does not guarantee that you will get the same amount you initially invested in it. Even while the prices of preferred stocks are more consistent than those of ordinary stocks, they do not always equal their par values.

In addition, the resale prices of convertible preferred stocks may be connected to the conversion premiums of such stocks. The value of the preferred stock can increase in tandem with the value of the ordinary stock to which it is tied. It may trade with price consistency comparable to that of a bond if it has a high conversion premium, which indicates that converting its shares will not result in a profit.

Preferred Stock Dividends

Preferred stock is popular among investors because of the reliability of its dividend payments. Dividends account for most preferred equities' yearly returns above 7 percent since 1900. Preferred shareholders get dividends before common shareholders do, but it's important to remember that this is only sometimes the case.

This is in stark contrast to the interest payments made on bonds. While preferred stock dividends are typically paid quarterly, you may be eligible for a retroactive payment if your company cannot do so for whatever reason. Determined by whether or whether your preferred shares' dividends are cumulative.

Preferred Stock Dividend Yields

A better understanding of the relative value and return you get from dividends on preferred stocks may be attained via dividend yield. Understanding preferred stock dividend yields require a solid grasp of par value.

Because the par values of preferred stocks are predetermined and do not fluctuate, the dividend yields on preferred stocks are more consistent and exhibit less variation than the dividend yields on ordinary stocks. The dividend yield would be 5% if an individual share of preferred stock had a par value of $100 and paid yearly dividends of $5 per share. Because the par value and the market value of an asset are not the same, you need to pay attention to trading price of preferred shares in addition to the par value. The preferred stock used in the previous example would have an effective dividend yield of 4.5 percent if trading at $110 per share.

Why Should You Invest in Preferred Stock?


Adding some preferred stock to your portfolio might be a smart move depending on what you want to achieve with your investments. The following are some of the most important benefits associated with preferred stock:

  • Higher dividends. Preferred shares, on the whole, may provide larger recurring dividends than other types of shares. Because you are taking on more risk, the payouts are often more than what you would earn if you purchased a bond instead.
  • Access to assets on a priority basis. If the firm declares bankruptcy, preferred shareholders take precedence over regular shareholders but remain below bondholders.
  • The possibility of receiving callable shares premium. You may get a return more than the amount you invested in the preferred stock if callable price is higher than par value.
  • The possibility of converting preferred shares into common stock. If you purchase convertible shares, you can convert your preferred stock into common stock. If the price of the common stock significantly increases, you may choose to convert your shares to take advantage of the increase in value while simultaneously investing in an asset that has a lower level of risk.