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You wrote, Preferred stocks lack a maturity date.

Not necessarily true.

I hold preferreds that have maturity dates. The company (or trust) that issues a preferred is free to set the terms on its preferred stock as much like a bond (or like the common) as they see fit.

There are examples that span the spectrum. The ones most like a bond are trust preferreds, where the issuing trust is actually just holding bonds as its asset and distributing the accrued interest as dividends. (Sometimes the debt held is senior and sometimes junior.) The ones most like the common (and the most risky) are probably mandatory convertible preferreds. Those may pay some (usually high) coupon at issue, but will automagically convert to shares of common using a formula specified by the prospectus on a certain date or when some event occurs.

- Joel
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