preferred stock


Definition of preferred stock

: stock guaranteed priority by a corporation's charter over common stock in the payment of dividends and usually in the distribution of assets

Examples of preferred stock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One of his go-to stories involves convertible preferred stock. David Segal, New York Times, "Martin Sorrell Wants to Build a New Ad Empire. Please Don’t Call It Revenge.," 1 July 2019 Looking for leads, investment insights, or competitive intelligence?Get Premium Access Company's senior preferred stock is owned by the U.S. Treasury, which also holds a warrant to purchase 79.9% of the common stock. Fortune, "Fannie Mae," 21 Apr. 2018 Dividends attached to the preferred stock weigh on Roadrunner’s earnings because they are treated as interest expense on the company’s balance sheet. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trucker Roadrunner Seeks to Pay Off Costly Rescue Funding," 14 Sep. 2018 Interest expenses related to the preferred stock added $38.7 million to its losses in the first half of this year, the company said in its second-quarter report. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trucker Roadrunner Seeks to Pay Off Costly Rescue Funding," 14 Sep. 2018 The purchase of convertible perpetual preferred stock could eventually make Harbin Pharmaceutical the biggest shareholder in the vitamin brand., "Chinese Dealmaking Spree in the U.S. Faces Threat," 7 Mar. 2018 First-lien creditors have agreed to provide Claire’s with $575 million of new capital, including a new $250 million first-lien term loan and $250 million as a preferred stock investment. Becky Yerak, WSJ, "Claire’s Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy," 19 Mar. 2018 However, the original investment was in the form of preferred stock and warrants to buy common shares, which were recently exercised. Matthew Frankel, USA TODAY, "Warren Buffett's 10 largest current stock bets," 15 Dec. 2017 Discovery Communications is worth about $15 billion, including its preferred stocks, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Amol Sharma, WSJ, "Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks in Talks to Combine," 18 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preferred stock.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of preferred stock

circa 1859, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for preferred stock

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for preferred stock

The first known use of preferred stock was circa 1859

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More Definitions for preferred stock

preferred stock


Financial Definition of preferred stock

What It Is

Like shares of common stock, shares of preferred stock represent an ownership stake in a company -- in other words, a claim on its assets and earnings. However, as the term suggests, "preferred" stock carries certain advantages. While preferred stock usually doesn't carry the same voting rights as common stock, it does have priority when it comes to dividends and bankruptcy. And like common stock, preferred stock can be bought and sold through a broker.

How It Works

The primary difference between preferred stock and common stock relates to the order in which shareholders are paid in the event of bankruptcy or other corporate restructuring. If the issuing company seeks bankruptcy protection, then the owners of preferred shares take priority over common shareholders when it comes time to pay dividends and liquidate the company's assets.

The other main difference between preferred and common shares relates to dividends. Although dividends paid on common stock are not guaranteed and can fluctuate from quarter to quarter, preferred shareholders are usually guaranteed a fixed dividend paid on a regular basis. As a result, preferred stocks often act similar to bonds. The average dividend yield paid out on preferred stock has recently ranged from 5% to 7%. That compares to historical yields of around 6% for investment quality corporate bonds, and roughly 2% to 3% dividends for common stocks.

Why It Matters

Preferred stock is a good alternative for risk-averse investors wanting to buy equities. In general, they are less volatile then common stock and provide a better stream of dividends. Most preferred shares are also callable, meaning the issuer can redeem the shares at any time, so they provide investors with more options than common shares. But for all of these advantages, preferred stock has one downside -- its shareholders generally do not enjoy the same voting privileges as the holders of common stock. Not all investors actively participate in voting, but it may be a deterent for some investors.

Source: Investing Answers

preferred stock

Legal Definition of preferred stock

see stock

More from Merriam-Webster on preferred stock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preferred stock Encyclopedia article about preferred stock

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