Preferred Stock ETFs Enjoy Fat Yields, Capital Appreciation | ETF Trends

Preferred stock exchange traded funds have offered investors the best of both worlds so far in 2012 — higher prices and a nice dividend stream to boot.

Preferred shares and ETFs that hold them could get see a further spike in popularity as investors search for yield.

Preferred shares have been outperforming for most of 2012, especially because of their high dividend yields. Preferred shares are senior to common stock and many have credit ratings similar to bonds, which protects investors if a company were to liquidate or merge, reports Dave Fry for The Street.

The $7.7 billion iShares U.S. Preferred Stock Index (NYSEArca: PFF) has a dividend yield of 7%. The fund is up 7% year to date and has rallied above its 200-day moving average.

“PFF has done very well of late and is paying a pretty high dividend stream,” writes Chris Kimble at Kimble Charting Solutions. “Keep a close eye on PFF right now, as the near term price action in [the ETF]could be a tip to what banks and the broad market do from here.”

“Because of their hybrid debt and equity characteristics, preferred shares are treated as Tier 1 capital under new bank regulatory capital requirements. This is why we saw increased issuance of preferred stock in the U.S. during the financial crisis as U.S. banks tried to strengthen their balance sheets,” John Gabriel wrote in a Morningstar fund analysis. [Bank Rally Lifts Preferred Stock ETFs]