Preferred Stock

A class of ownership in a corporation that has a higher claim on the assets and earnings than common stock. Preferred stock generally has a dividend that must be paid out before dividends to common stockholders and the shares usually do not have voting rights.


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The precise details as to the structure of preferred stock is specific to each corporation. However, the best way to think of preferred stock is as a financial instrument that has characteristics of both debt (fixed dividends) and equity (potential appreciation). Also known as “preferred shares”.


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There are certainly pros and cons when looking at preferred shares. Preferred shareholders have priority over common stockholders on earnings and assets in the event of liquidation and they have a fixed dividend (paid before common stockholders), but investors must weigh these positives against the negatives, including giving up their voting rights and less potential for appreciation.

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