Paul Tracy

It's rare to find a double-digit yield from a preferred stock. It's especially rare to find this sort of yield from one of the world's largest companies.

Here in the United States, you'd be lucky to get 6% from preferred stock in a blue-chip company. The iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index (NYSE: PFF), an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that invests in the preferred stock of S&P 500 companies, only pays 5.9%.

But it's a different story with international companies.

For example, the preferred stock I'm going to tell you about belongs to one of the largest financial institutions in the world. It has branches all over Latin America, the United States and Europe. 

Recently, the stock has been punished because it's headquartered in one of Europe's most troubled areas: Spain.

Mention an investment in a Spanish company to most people, and they'll give a quick "no thanks." But in this case, that's misguided.

Despite the company's location, these preferred shares are isolated from the European debt crisis, they're safer than general common stock, and right now they're paying an above-average 10% dividend yield.

I'm talking about Santander Preferred E (NYSE: SAN-PE) -- preferred stock in one of the world's largest financial institutions, Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN)

And while the shares are available here on the New York Stock Exchange, Madrid-based Banco Santander is actually the largest bank in the euro zone. It's the European equivalent of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC).


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