Preferred stocks are the unsung heroes of dividend yield.
Preferreds only really started to get attention when bond yields cratered, sending dividend investors on the hunt for other sources of fixed income. And I have to admit, when I found preferred stocks, I fell in love.
After all, preferred stocks have many of the advantages of bonds in that they trade in very tight range, they pay a regular dividend, and they are higher up in the capital stack than equity. In addition, if a company is forced to reduce dividends, it must first kill the dividend to the common stock before the preferred stock.
Before the picks, a few educational notes: Preferred stocks you’ll want to avoid are those whose companies have already cut common dividends, indicating the company is struggling with its cash position and income generation. You’ll also want to avoid preferred stocks trading substantially above par, or the price they were originally offered at. Most preferred stocks are “callable,” which means the company can pay the issuing price for shares after a certain date. You don’t want to buy a preferred stock at $28 and have it called at $25. It’s OK to pay a slight premium, but not too much.
Now, onto those preferred stocks to buy: