Preferred stock is a type of stock that represents ownership in a company, but typically carries different rights and privileges compared to common stock.
Some key characteristics of preferred stock include:
- Priority in dividends: Preferred shareholders are entitled to receive dividends before common shareholders, and in the event that a company cannot pay all its dividends, preferred shareholders must be paid before common shareholders.
- Fixed dividends: Preferred dividends are typically fixed and do not fluctuate based on a company's earnings or profits, providing a more stable income stream for investors.
- Limited voting rights: Preferred shareholders usually have limited or no voting rights in company matters, such as electing board members or approving major business decisions.
- Potential for callability: Some preferred stocks may have a call provision, which allows the issuer to redeem the shares at a predetermined price after a specified date.
- Preference in liquidation: In the event of a company's liquidation or bankruptcy, preferred shareholders have a higher claim on the company's assets compared to common shareholders.
Preferred stock is often seen as a hybrid security between a stock and a bond, as it has some characteristics of both. It can provide a higher yield and greater stability than common stock, but typically has less potential for capital appreciation. It is often used by companies as a way to raise capital without diluting the ownership of common shareholders.