Those who want to invest in public companies can do so easily by purchasing shares on the open market. Shares entitle the investor to a portion of the company’s overall ownership.

This method has worked as a cash source for firms for many years. Revenue from stock sales is used to fund expansion, debt repayment, and research and development. While there are other options for raising funds, such as bond offers, stocks allow anybody who wants to invest to profit.

Preferred stocks are also available for purchase and sale, while most investors prefer to buy and sell common stocks. Each of these categories can be subdivided further into classes.

This article will go through the distinctions between common stock and preferred stock. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and certain investors may favor one over the other.

Common stock and preferred stock: a comparison

Stocks aren’t all created equal. Common stock and preferred stock are the two types of stock most commonly issued by public companies, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. We’ll look at each type and analyze its benefits and drawbacks.

Common Stocks

Common stock is the most popular investment among investors. It permits shareholders to vote on important topics like the board of directors’ election. They can also vote on a variety of political and governance issues. Each share has one vote in most circumstances. In comparison to preferred stock, common stock’s value is based on long-term growth rather than dividends.

The long-term growth potential of common stock is higher, but dividends and liquidation payments are less relevant. Creditors, suppliers, debtors, and preferred stockholders expect to be paid before regular investors. A common stock’s chance of collapsing to zero is likewise higher than a preferred stock’s chance of falling to zero.

Common stock may be preferred by long-term investors over other options.

Pros Allows you to vote.

There is no cap on how much the stock price can grow.

Taxes on capital gains are postponed until the stock is sold.

Cons

Price volatility has increased.

It is possible that you will not receive dividends.

Preferred stock dividends are paid first, followed by common stock dividends.

When it comes to receiving payouts on liquidation, common shares have a lower priority than preferred shares.

Preferred stock

Preferred stock

Preferred stock is a type of stock that pays dividends to stockholders and receives dividends before normal stock. Despite its name, the majority of investors do not choose preferred stock (although it does have its advantages).

In many ways, preferred stock is identical to bonds. Dividends, for example, are usually the primary source of income for preferred stocks. They are also more likely to provide a higher dividend than regular equities. When interest rates fall, preferred stock, like bonds, performs well. Preferred stock also has a par value, which is the price at which it was originally issued and can be redeemed when it reaches maturity.

Preferred stock can also be “withdrawn” on a predetermined date (i.e., repurchased by the corporation). As a result, there’s a probability the recall price will be higher than the price paid by the investor. Another differentiating feature of some types of preferred stock is that it can be changed into a specific number of common shares, but not the other way around. This type of stock is known as convertible preferred stock.

Short-term investors who are unable to hold regular stock for long enough to recoup from a price loss may find preferred shares to be a better investment. This is due to the fact that preferred stock is less volatile than common stock, but it also has a lesser long-term growth potential.

Pros

  • Dividends are paid out that are generally higher than those paid out on common stock.
  • There’s a lower danger of losing money.
  • When it comes to payouts on liquidation and dividends, it takes precedence over ordinary stock.

Minuses

  • Stock price appreciation is usually limited, up to redemption value.
  • Often does not provide voting rights

How share classes work

There is usually only one class of stock when a corporation issues common stock. In rare circumstances, companies may issue different classes of stock, referred to as Class A, Class B, and Class C shares.

Class A shares, like any other stock, are traded on the open market and each have one vote. On the other hand, Class B shares may be restricted to the company’s founders and executives. They may also be able to cast several votes per share. Finally, despite their resemblance to Class A shares, Class C shares usually lack voting rights.

There are several types of preferred stock. Various types of preferred stock have different priorities when it comes to dividends and liquidation payments. However, these classes continue to take precedence over common stock. Like bonds, each preferred stock series has its own dividend, withdrawal date, and other characteristics.

Conclusion

When you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each type of stock, preferred stocks may appear to be the better choice. However, just because preferred stocks have a higher priority for dividends and payments doesn’t mean they’re better.

Long-term growth potential is stronger in common stocks than in preferred stocks, making them a better option for long-term investors. So, which type is better for you depends on your situation.