In this article, I'll review the most popular fixed-income securities, the fixed-rate preferred stocks, sorted into several categories. There are 360 issues in our database that trade on primary exchanges, excluding the convertible preferred stocks, half of which are part of the biggest ETF for fixed-income securities: the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF (PFF). As we can see in the chart below, half of the PFF's market capitalization consists of fixed-rate preferred stocks, which also corresponds to almost 60% of the fund's holdings. This means that we are talking of around $7B in dollar value.
First, let's take a look at the main indicators that we follow and their behavior during the last month.
TNX - CBOE 10-Year Treasury Note Yield Index ($TNX)
iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)
The most essential thing for fixed-income investors for the past month is that the TNX has fallen below the 3% yield mark amid projections of slowing economic growth and weaker inflation. Despite the less dovish-than-expected Federal Reserve's guidance on its tightening cycle, released by the Fed on December, the treasury yields remain low. However, the fixed-income securities, as we can see in the second chart, continue to sink lower and lower, just before to end the year with a cheerful New Year's rally, giving some fresh optimism. As for the equity markets, stocks entered into a bear market and the S&P 500 recorded its worst December since 1931, capped off by a 9.2% plunge. Still, the investors may be happy with the days after Christmas and the 7.3% bounce back for the low just for a couple of days.
1. Redemption Risk by Years-to-Call and Yield-to-Call:
The lower the stock, the bigger the call risk. Be careful not to get surprised in these ones if you are tempted by the higher yield.
1.1 Long Time No Call
1.2 Short Time No Call
2. Stocks That Are Below Par (Stripped Price) and Have a Current Yield of Between 5% and 8%:
It should be noted that PG&E (PCG) suspended the dividend on its preferred stocks beginning Jan. 31, 2018. Yet, their dividends are cumulative, and the reason for their suspension at this time is not the solvency of the company. At the end of the day, a suspended dividend means that we are not getting our money on time, and the time value of money does matter to us.
Take a look at the investment grade only:
Now, I will separate these into two groups - those that pay a qualified dividend rate, and those that pay a not qualified dividend rate.
3. Current Yield < 5% (Try to Avoid These):
An interesting fact about the preferred stocks in this group is that they are issued in the 1940s and 1950s, which makes them older than many of us.
4. Current Yield Between 8% and 10%:
None of these preferred stocks bear an investment grade rating. Although, they have to bring extra risk because there is no free lunch. Furthermore, please note that Brookfield DTLA Fund Office Trust Investor 7.625% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (NYSE: DTLA.P) has not paid any distribution since November 1, 2008. Despite the fact that there is a solid amount of accumulated dividend, it is still suspended. Besides, as I mentioned above, PCG.PG also has its dividend suspended.
5. Current Yield > 10%:
For a better look at the rest of the preferred stocks in this group, let's remove RHE-A from the chart, as its current yield is above 119%.
Source: Author's database
Overall, this is a highly speculative group and the preferred stocks involved here come from companies that are currently in serious problems. The curious thing, in this case, is that only 8 of the 15 preferreds have their distribution suspended. These are RHE-A, HOVNP, NM-H, NM-G, MHLD's preferred stocks (MH-A, MH-C, and MH-D) and CETXP.
6. Price > Par, Sorted by Yield-to-Worst and Years-to-Call:
Now, in the next few charts, I'll examine how the yield curve looks.
7. The Yield Curve for Rated Ones:
8. The Yield Curve Investment Grade:
9. The Term Preferred Stocks:
By Years-to-Maturity and Yield-to-Maturity
By Yield-to-Call and Yield-to-Call
Here is the full list:
10. Let's Try to Find a Qualified "Investment Grade" Rated Preferred Stock With a Current Yield > 6% and YTC > 5.5%:
Take a closer look at the main group:
11. Ex-Dividend Dates for January 2019:
Which fixed rate preferred stocks are ex-dividend until the end of the month. The date given is predicted on the base of the previous ones and may vary by a few days.
The ex-dividend dates are very useful for every fixed-income investor who practices the dividend capture strategy.
12. mREIT Fixed Rate for IRA Accounts:
13. A Look at Recent Redemptions:
There are 4 preferred stocks that have been called for redemption for the past month:
Source: Author's database
14. A Look at Recent IPOs:
Also, there are two new fixed-rate preferred stocks, issued for the past two months:
Braemar Hotels & Resorts 8.25% Series D Cumulative Preferred Stock (NYSE: BHR-D)
Enstar Group 7.00% Depositary Shares Perpetual Non-Cumulative Preference Shares Series E (NASDAQ: ESGRO)
15. Top Movers
Here is the general idea of how the fixed-rate preferred stocks moved over the last month. On the abscissa, the movement is given in absolute value.
This is what our small world of fixed-rate preferred stocks looks like at the start of 2019.
In this rising rate environment, fears of a trade war, and slowing global economy, it is normal for fixed income securities to get affected, and those who follow our monthly reviews know that all stocks are in a strong bear market. Also, there was the FOMC Funds Rate decision last month, which has not changed the sentiment and even deepened it. However, the last several days are good for all fixed-income securities, which seems to continue. Personally, I own a quite varied portfolio of preferred stocks, taking advantage of the lack of the big technical seller.
Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 2, 2019, and some figures and charts may not be entirely up to date.
Trade With Beta
The Trade With Beta team has been submerged in the universe of preferred stocks and baby bonds for almost a decade, and we decided to share our knowledge and expertise through the inception of this service. We attempt to cover all aspects of these products, from IPOs to pair trades and portfolio picks and, last but not least, issues. Additionally, once a month we go through all different groups of fixed-income instruments to make sure that nothing has gone unnoticed.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.