A symbol that, when used as the fifth letter in a ticker symbol, indicates that a security is a first preferred issue. Called a fifth-letter identifier, "P" and most other letters of the alphabet, can be used to indicate that a security is not common stock, but has a special characteristic. Other examples of such characteristics and their identifiers include Class A shares ("A"), new issues ("D"), delinquent ("E"), foreign ("F"), or involved in bankruptcy proceedings, as indicated by ("Q").
Ownership of preferred stock comes with greater rights than ownership of common stock. Preferred shareholders receive fixed dividends and are paid dividends before common shareholders. Preferred shareholders also have priority in being repaid, in the event that a company liquidates. However, bondholders have priority over preferred stockholders, and preferred stock dividends can be withheld at the company's discretion.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.