As stock markets chop around and Treasury yields dip to dismaying lows, investors continue to search high and low for income. They've even been spotted sending money to mutual funds investing in the utility sector, a corner of the market not popular for many moons.

One often-overlooked tool now in the spotlight is preferred stock. And no wonder. The hybrid securities-technically stocks, they act like bonds -now boast yields in the 7% range. "With 10-year Treasuries earning 2.5% we're seeing a grand interest in these income-producing securities," said Tom Roseen, head of research at fund tracker Lipper.

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