Preferred Stock Law and Legal Definition

Preferred stock is a class of shares of stock in a corporation which gives the holders priority in payment of dividends and distribution of assets in case of dissolution of the corporation over owners of "common" stock. Preferred stock shareholders do not participate in higher dividends if the corporation makes large profits, and usually cannot vote for directors.

Also unlike common stock, a preferred stock pays a fixed dividend that doesnt vary, although the company does not have to pay this dividend if it lacks the financial ability to do so. The dividends paid to preferred shares are deducted as an expense because they are required payments, unlike the common stock dividend which is just a sharing in part of the profits. Like common stock, preferred stocks represent partial ownership in a company.