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S&P launches International Preferred Stock Index

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Standard & Poor’s has launched the S&P International Preferred Stock Index, the first index providing exposure to preferred stock in developed European and Asian markets.

Part of the S&P Dividend Investor series, the index’s launch comes in response to demand for an investable benchmark of non-US developed market preferred stocks and the high yields and diversification that they can provide.

The move follows last week’s launch of the S&P/TSX North American Preferred Stock Index, dedicated to North American preferred stocks.

Preferred stocks – or preference shares – are a class of securities that combine the characteristics of debt and common stocks. While their expected volatility and returns fall between those of common stocks and bonds, their yields are typically higher than those of common stocks, bonds and money market instruments. With relatively low correlations to common stocks and bonds, they can serve as a good diversification instrument for investors.

Steve Goldin, vice president of strategy indices at S&P Indices, says: “Market conditions make this index, the first of its type, ideal for investors who are searching for higher yields at a time of historically low interest rates worldwide. The S&P International Preferred Stock Index will open up new avenues to access this increasingly sought-after area of the market in Europe and Asia.”

The index’s universe focuses on developed-market preferred stocks that are traded on non-US developed market exchanges; emerging market issues and listings are excluded. Any preferred stock issued by a company to meet its capital financing requirements, such as floating and fixed rate preferreds, cumulative and non-cumulative preferreds, and preferred stocks with a callable or conversion feature, are also eligible for inclusion.

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