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Preferred shares give investors a fixed dividend from the company's earnings and entitle them to be paid before common shareholders. See: Preferred stock.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.
Stock in a publicly-traded company without voting rights, but otherwise with more rights than common shares. Preferred stocks receive dividends before common shares and sometimes have guaranteed dividends, while common shares only receive the leftovers. Preferred stocks also have a prior claim on capital in the event of liquidation; if the company is liquidated, all preferred shareholders must be paid off before a single common shareholder. Some preferred stocks are convertible, which means they can be changed into common shares at a certain ratio so that even preferred shareholders without voting rights have the possibility of gaining them. Preferred stocks tend not to appreciate as fast as common stocks.
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