DEFINITION of 'Widow-And-Orphan Stock'
A stock that pays high dividends and is generally considered to carry low risk. Widow-and-orphan stocks would most likely be in non-cyclical industries that are less likely to be negatively impacted during economic downturns.
BREAKING DOWN 'Widow-And-Orphan Stock'
Prior to being broken up in 1984, AT&T was considered to be a widow-and-orphan stock, and was widely held by all classes of investors. Some utilities are deemed to be safer than the broader market. Investors seeking higher returns may shy away from widow-and-orphan stocks because they provide low returns, regardless of the company size.