Last Updated: Jun 10, 2022 Value Broking 10 Mins 2.2K

The stock market in India is a significant opportunity to grow money, where you can invest in common stock and preferred stock. For that, you need to understand both stocks properly before you make your moves in the stock market.

Factors That You Must Know

Factors on which the difference between preferred stock and common stock depends:

Ownership of the Company

Common stock and preferred stockholders own the corporation.

The Right to Vote

The right to vote may be a significant difference between preferred shares and customary stock. Even though both common and preferred shareholders possess a portion of the corporation, only common shareholders have the right to vote. Preferred stockholders have no voting rights. Common shareholders, for example, would be allowed to vote on the new board of directors, but preferred shareholders would not have the voting rights.

Payment of Dividends

Although both stockholders are eligible for dividends, they pay the dividends differently. Dividends on common stock are changeable and are paid out based on the company’s profitability. Company A, for example, can payout 160 rupees in dividends in Quarter 1, but if they lose money in Quarter 2, they may choose to pay zero rupees.

Preferred shareholders, on the other hand, get set dividends; therefore, Company A would need to provide a constant dividend of 160 rupees at specified intervals.

Dividends on preferred stock are also cumulative, which means that if they miss in one period, they must make up in the next. Returning to the example, if Company A fails to pay the 160 rupees dividend on preferred shares in Quarter 2, they must pay 320 rupees (Rs. 160 x 2) in Quarter 3.

Earnings Claim

Earnings claimed are essential in common shares vs. preferred shares. When a corporation declares earnings, there is a process through which investors get the compensation. The bondholders generally get the payment first, followed by common shareholders. Because preferred shares are a hybrid of bonds and common stock, preferred shareholders are laid out after bondholders but before common stockholders. If a corporation declares bankruptcy, preferred shareholders must be compensable before everyday investors.


Preferred shares can be changed into a certain number of common shares, while common shares cannot convert into preferred shares.


In the end, both common and preferred shares get compensation from a company’s earnings. A “common share” returns are typically dependent on the growth or fall in share price and ends the payment of an optional dividend. A preferred share’s returns, on the other hand, are primarily determined by its mandated dividends.

In terms of availability, common shares outnumber preferred shares by a wide margin. The decision to acquire “common stock vs. preferred stock” ultimately boils down to the investor’s objectives. Those that purchase common stock are typically interested in the possibility of more significant gains but at a higher risk.

Those who acquire preferred shares, on the other hand, are often interested in consistent dividend income with fewer risks. In addition, preferred stock may not be picked by purchasers when interest rates are rising, lowering the par value of the shares. The difference in refunds is an excellent preferred stock vs. common stock example.

What is the Share Market?

The stock exchange isa place where investors purchase and sell stocks. A share is a unit of ownership in the firm you bought it. For example, if you bought ten shares of any firm for Rs. 200 each, you would become a shareholder of that firm. It enables you to sell the company’s shares whenever you desire. Investing in stocks helps you realize your aspirations, such as furthering your education, purchasing a car, or constructing a home. The rate of return will be great if you start investing at an early age and continue to invest for an extended period. You can arrange your investing strategy based on the time frame you require funds.

How the Stock Market Works

The stock market operates through exchanges, such as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the India International Exchange (INX). You can see the list of a company’s stock on an exchange through a process known as Initial Public Offering, or IPO. Investors buy those shares, allowing the company to raise funds to expand its marketing. Investors can then purchase and sell these stocks while the exchange monitors each listed stock’s supply and demand.

This supply and demand help control each security’s price or the levels at which stock market investors and traders are ready to purchase and sell.

Purchasers offer a bid they want, which is comparatively less than the amount sellers ask for in exchange. The bid-ask spread is the difference between the bid amount and ask amount. A trade can only happen when a buyer raises his price or a seller lowers his.

Common Stock

“Common stock” reflects ownership of the company’s equity. The holders of common stock have the right to a portion of the company’s earnings and exert influence over it by voting in the board of director elections and on significant business decisions.

Those who own Common stocks usually get profits in capital appreciation. Generally, the “common stock” provides a better return than preferred stock or bonds. However, the bigger the rewards, the larger the dangers involved with such instruments.

Rights of Shareholders

Legislation in the company’s incorporation, corporate charter, and governance papers is the primary shareholder rights source. As a result, shareholder rights differ from one country to the next and from one organization to another.

Common Stock Classifications

There is no categorization for common stock. Some firms, however, may issue 2 groups of common stock. For example, in most circumstances, a firm will give one voting shares category and another non-voting (or voting-power-reduced) shares. The primary reason for employing dual categorization is to maintain control. Regardless of voting rights, distinct classes typically have equal access to the company’s revenues.

Preferred Stock

Preferred shares indicate ownership in a business and have a claim on the company’s assets and earnings that are superior to common shares. In dividend payments, the holders of preferred shares get priority above the holders of common stock.

Preferred Shares’ Characteristics

Preferred shares have unique characteristics that set them apart from debt or common stock. Although the terminology varies, the following features are shared:

The shares give its holders preference over common stockholders in claiming the company’s assets in the event of a liquidation.

Owners will get Dividend payments through the shares. The fees can be fixed or variable, based on a benchmark interest rate such as LIBOR.

Preferred shareholders get dividend distributions ahead of common stockholders.

In general, the shares do not confer voting rights on their owners. On the other hand, some preferred shares allow investors to vote on unusual occurrences.

Preferred shares can be transferable into a set number of common shares. Some preferred shares indicate the date on which the shares can be transferable, while others require board permission for the conversion.

The issuer has the option to repurchase the shares on specific dates.

Preferred stock is a remarkably adaptable form of securities. For example, they might be convertible preferred stock, cumulative preferred stock, exchangeable preferred stock, or perpetual preferred stock.

Difference Between Preferred Stock and Common Stock

Various distinctions are there between preferred and common stock. The critical difference is that preferred stock does not typically grant stockholders voting rights, but common stock is usually at a single vote per share owned. As a result, many investors are more close to common stock and not preferred stock.

Both forms of stock reflect a portion of a company’s equity, and both are tools that investors may use to try to earn from the company’s future triumphs.

The primary distinction between preferred stock and common stock is that preferred stock does not have voting rights. As a result, when it comes time for a firm to elect a board of directors or vote on any type of corporate policy, preferred stockholders have no say in the company’s destiny. In truth, preferred stock behaves similarly to bonds in that investors are often guaranteed a set income in perpetuity with preferred shares.

Bonds and preferred shares incline towards outperforming common stock. It’s one of the most significant opportunities for long-term growth. If an organization performs well, its value may rise. Otherwise, the stock’s value would fall.

Preferred shares can be convertible to a set number of common shares, but common shares can not. This is because preferred shares, like bonds, have an equivalent value. When interest rates rise, so does the value of the preferred stock, and vice versa. The value of common stocks, on the other hand, is determined by the market participants’ demand and supply.

Difference Between Preferred Stock And Common Stock

MeaningCommon stock, also known as ordinary stock, is a type of ownership interest that entitles the holder to vote.Preferred stock is the portion of a company’s capital that carries a preferential right to payment in the event that it files for bankruptcy or is wound up.
Growth potentialHigh Low
RightsDifferencing rightsPreferential Rights
Return on capitalNot assured.Guaranteed and at a set price, too.
Participation in electionsEntitles one to take part in and cast a vote at a corporate meeting.does not provide one the right to take part in and cast a vote at a corporate meeting.
Repayment priorityIn conclusion, common stockholders get paid.Prior to common investors, preferred owners receive payment.
RedemptionIt is not redeemableIt is redeemable
Arrears of dividendIf they missed a dividend payment the prior year, they are not eligible for arrears.If they missed a dividend payment the prior year, they are entitled to the arrears.


Preferred stock is more like a bond with a fixed dividend and redemption price. It is the primary difference between preferred stock and common stock. But, common stock dividends are less guaranteed and carry a higher risk of loss if a company fails, but there is far greater potential for stock price appreciation.

Even though the name suggests that preferred stock is superior, the optimal decision depends on your goals: income now or long-term gains in the future. The table below summarizes the significant distinctions between common and preferred shares.

Because most investors acquire stocks for long-term development, investing in common stock is typically the superior option due to the more significant upside potential. The key is to consider your capacity and willingness to keep the stock for many years and ride out volatility, resulting in losses if you sell during a slump.

If you want to generate income, preferred stock may be the way to go, mainly when the interest rates are low. They can be particularly appealing due to set dividend distributions that are more dependable and generally greater than regular stock dividends. However, remember that while preferred stock is more secure than “Regular stock,” it is not safe as a bond.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Stock is a small unit of ownership listed in the public market. In India, there are two popular stock markets NSE and BSE where you can buy and sell financial securities through a broker portal.

Preferred stocks can be convertible into common shares.

Yes, a company can be ownable by both the “common and preferred shares” owners.

It depends on your investment goals and risk tolerance. Common stock has the potential for higher returns, but it is also more risky. Preferred stock is less risky, but it does not have the same potential for growth.

It depends on your individual circumstances. Preferred stock offers some advantages over common stock, such as guaranteed dividends and priority in the event of a liquidation. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as no voting rights and limited growth potential.

Yes, you can have both common and preferred stock in the same company. This is called a dual-class stock structure. Dual-class stock structures are often used by companies that want to give founders or early investors more control over the company.