Investing Unit 5: Preferred Stock

November 13, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF




Although technically a form of stock, preferred stock is often listed as a fixed-income investment because it behaves more like a bond, but has no fixed maturity date. The word "preferred" refers to the fact that shareholders receive preferential treatment. They are paid dividends before common stock shareholders and, in the event of a corporate liquidation, can claim corporate assets after bondholders but before common stock shareholders.

Preferred stock typically pays a fixed dividend rate similar to the coupon rate on a bond. Share prices fluctuate inversely with changes in interest rates. Par value on preferred stock is usually about $25 per share so a round lot (100 shares) would cost $2,500. Dividends paid are a fixed percentage of par value. Preferred stock shares are available through brokerage firms.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.