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Hello All,

I have a few questions about preferred stocks and I'd appreciate any help that folks could offer. (Or maybe someone could point me to a good websource that answers many of these questions? I've googled some things up, but you never know how factual things are on the internet...)

As I understand it, preferred stocks are issued at a par value (commonly $25) and with a set dividend. After a set term they can be called by the issuer.

My questions:

1. When looking at a preferred stock, how can you determine its par value? How can you determine its time to maturity? (I'm sure that this is the wrong term, since these aren't bonds; but frankly, I don't know a better term.) These must be SEC disclosed and available on EDGAR databases?

2. As I understand it, preferred stock gets its dividend payed preferentially, before common. Also, the dividend is guaranteed. If the company can't pay the dividend, they can let it lapse, but must make these missed payments at a later date. Is this correct? (I also understand that this isn't true for ALL preferred issues, just MOST. (?)

3. Once a preferred stock reaches "maturity", it can be called by the issuer at its original par value. But, what I'm not clear on, is how this affects the dividend. Is the dividend of a cumulative preferred still guaranteed past this date, or does it float once "maturity" is reached?

4. What is the general frequency with which preferreds are called? How much does this vary from comapny to company (probably a lot). Are there instances in which they can be voluntarily (or involuntarily) converted to common, rather than paid in cash.

Lots of questions, I know. I apologize in advance for the length. Thanks for your help.
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