The bond market (also debt market or credit market) is a financial market where participants can issue new debt, known as the primary market, or buy and sell debt securities, known as the secondary market. This is usually in the form of bonds, but it may include notes, bills, and so on.
A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at low transaction costs. Securities include stocks and bonds, and precious metals.
Debt is when something, usually money, is owed by one party, the borrower or debtor, to a second party, the lender or creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future, which is what differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.
The primary market is the part of the capital market that deals with the issuance and sale of equity-backed securities to investors directly by the issuer. Investor buy securities that were never traded before. Primary markets create long term instruments through which corporate entities raise funds from the capital market. It is also known as the New Issue Market (NIM).
Its primary goal is to provide long-term funding for public and private expenditures. The bond market has largely been dominated by the United States, which accounts for about 39% of the market. As of 2017, the size of the worldwide bond market (total debt outstanding) is estimated at $100.13 trillion, according to Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) is a United States industry trade group representing securities firms, banks, and asset management companies. SIFMA was formed on November 1, 2006, from the merger of the Bond Market Association and the Securities Industry Association. It has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The bond market is part of the credit market, with bank loans forming the other main component. The global credit market in aggregate is about 3 times the size of the global equity market. Bank loans are not securities under the Securities and Exchange Act, but bonds typically are and are therefore more highly regulated. Bonds are typically not secured by collateral (although they can be), and are sold in relatively small denominations of around $1,000 to $10,000. Unlike bank loans, bonds may be held by retail investors. Bonds are more frequently traded than loans, although not as often as equity.
Nearly all of the average daily trading in the U.S. bond market takes place between broker-dealers and large institutions in a decentralized over-the-counter (OTC) market.However, a small number of bonds, primarily corporate ones, are listed on exchanges. Bond trading prices and volumes are reported on FINRA's Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine, or TRACE.
In financial services, a broker-dealer is a natural person, company or other organization that engages in the business of trading securities for its own account or on behalf of its customers. Broker-dealers are at the heart of the securities and derivatives trading process.
Over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange trading is done directly between two parties, without the supervision of an exchange. It is contrasted with exchange trading, which occurs via exchanges. A stock exchange has the benefit of facilitating liquidity, providing transparency, and maintaining the current market price. In an OTC trade, the price is not necessarily publicly disclosed.
A stock exchange, securities exchange or bourse, is a facility where stock brokers and traders can buy and sell securities, such as shares of stock and bonds and other financial instruments. Stock exchanges may also provide facilities for the issue and redemption of such securities and instruments and capital events including the payment of income and dividends. Securities traded on a stock exchange include stock issued by listed companies, unit trusts, derivatives, pooled investment products and bonds. Stock exchanges often function as "continuous auction" markets with buyers and sellers consummating transactions via open outcry at a central location such as the floor of the exchange or by using an electronic trading platform.
An important part of the bond market is the government bond market, because of its size and liquidity. Government bonds are often used to compare other bonds to measure credit risk. Because of the inverse relationship between bond valuation and interest rates (or yields), the bond market is often used to indicate changes in interest rates or the shape of the yield curve, the measure of "cost of funding". The yield on government bonds in low risk countries such as the United States or Germany is thought to indicate a risk-free rate of default. Other bonds denominated in the same currencies (U.S. Dollars or Euros) will typically have higher yields, in large part because other borrowers are more likely than the U.S. or German Central Governments to default, and the losses to investors in the case of default are expected to be higher. The primary way to default is to not pay in full or not pay on time.
A government bond or sovereign bond is a bond issued by a national government, generally with a promise to pay periodic interest payments called coupon payments and to repay the face value on the maturity date. The aim of a government bond is to support government spending. Government bonds are usually denominated in the country's own currency, in which case the government cannot be forced to default, although it may choose to do so. If a government is close to default on its debt the media often refer to this as a sovereign debt crisis.
A credit risk is the risk of default on a debt that may arise from a borrower failing to make required payments. In the first resort, the risk is that of the lender and includes lost principal and interest, disruption to cash flows, and increased collection costs. The loss may be complete or partial. In an efficient market, higher levels of credit risk will be associated with higher borrowing costs. Because of this, measures of borrowing costs such as yield spreads can be used to infer credit risk levels based on assessments by market participants.
Bond valuation is the determination of the fair price of a bond. As with any security or capital investment, the theoretical fair value of a bond is the present value of the stream of cash flows it is expected to generate. Hence, the value of a bond is obtained by discounting the bond's expected cash flows to the present using an appropriate discount rate.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) classifies the broader bond market into five specific bond markets.
A corporate bond is a bond issued by a corporation in order to raise financing for a variety of reasons such as to ongoing operations, M&A, or to expand business. The term is usually applied to longer-term debt instruments, with maturity of at least one year. Corporate debt instruments with maturity shorter than one year are referred to as commercial paper.
A municipal bond, commonly known as a Muni Bond, is a bond issued by a local government or territory, or one of their agencies. It is generally used to finance public projects such as roads, schools, airports and seaports, and infrastructure-related repairs. The term municipal bond is commonly used in the United States, which has the largest market of such trade-able securities in the world. As of 2011, the municipal bond market was valued at $3.7 trillion. Potential issuers of municipal bonds include states, cities, counties, redevelopment agencies, special-purpose districts, school districts, public utility districts, publicly owned airports and seaports, and other governmental entities at or below the state level having more than a de minimis amount of one of the three sovereign powers: the power of taxation, the power of eminent domain or the police power.
A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security which is secured by a mortgage or collection of mortgages. The mortgages are sold to a group of individuals that securitizes, or packages, the loans together into a security that investors can buy. The mortgages of a MBS may be residential or commercial, depending on whether it is an Agency MBS or a Non-Agency MBS; in the United States they may be issued by structures set up by government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or they can be "private-label", issued by structures set up by investment banks. The structure of the MBS may be known as "pass-through", where the interest and principal payments from the borrower or homebuyer pass through it to the MBS holder, or it may be more complex, made up of a pool of other MBSs. Other types of MBS include collateralized mortgage obligations and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).
Bond market participants are similar to participants in most financial markets and are essentially either buyers (debt issuer) of funds or sellers (institution) of funds and often both.
Because of the specificity of individual bond issues, and the lack of liquidity in many smaller issues, the majority of outstanding bonds are held by institutions like pension funds, banks and mutual funds. In the United States, approximately 10% of the market is held by private individuals.
Amounts outstanding on the global bond market increased by 2% in the twelve months to March 2012 to nearly $100 trillion. Domestic bonds accounted for 70% of the total and international bonds for the remainder. The United States was the largest market with 33% of the total followed by Japan (14%). As a proportion of global GDP, the bond market increased to over 140% in 2011 from 119% in 2008 and 80% a decade earlier. The considerable growth means that in March 2012 it was much larger than the global equity market which had a market capitalisation of around $53 trillion. Growth of the market since the start of the economic slowdown was largely a result of an increase in issuance by governments.
The outstanding value of international bonds increased by 2% in 2011 to $30 trillion. The $1.2 trillion issued during the year was down by around a fifth on the previous year's total. The first half of 2012 was off to a strong start with issuance of over $800 billion. The United States was the leading center in terms of value outstanding with 24% of the total followed by the UK 13%.
According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA),as of Q1 2017, the U.S. bond market size is (in billions):
Note that the total federal government debts recognized by SIFMA are significantly less than the total bills, notes and bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury Department,of some $19.8 trillion at the time. This figure is likely to have excluded the inter-governmental debts such as those held by the Federal Reserve and the Social Security Trust Fund.
For market participants who own a bond, collect the coupon and hold it to maturity, market volatility is irrelevant; principal and interest are received according to a pre-determined schedule.
But participants who buy and sell bonds before maturity are exposed to many risks, most importantly changes in interest rates. When interest rates increase, the value of existing bonds falls, since new issues pay a higher yield. Likewise, when interest rates decrease, the value of existing bonds rises, since new issues pay a lower yield. This is the fundamental concept of bond market volatility—changes in bond prices are inverse to changes in interest rates. Fluctuating interest rates are part of a country's monetary policy and bond market volatility is a response to expected monetary policy and economic changes.
Economists' views of economic indicators versus actual released data contribute to market volatility. A tight consensus is generally reflected in bond prices and there is little price movement in the market after the release of "in-line" data. If the economic release differs from the consensus view, the market usually undergoes rapid price movement as participants interpret the data. Uncertainty (as measured by a wide consensus) generally brings more volatility before and after a release. Economic releases vary in importance and impact depending on where the economy is in the business cycle.
Bond markets determine the price in terms of yield that a borrower must pay in order to receive funding. In one notable instance, when President Bill Clinton attempted to increase the U.S. budget deficit in the 1990s, it led to such a sell-off (decreasing prices; increasing yields) that he was forced to abandon the strategy and instead balance the budget.
I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.
Bonds typically trade in $1,000 increments and are priced as a percentage of par value (100%). Many bonds have minimums imposed by the bond or the dealer. Typical sizes offered are increments of $10,000. For broker/dealers, however, anything smaller than a $100,000 trade is viewed as an "odd lot".
Bonds typically pay interest at set intervals. Bonds with fixed coupons divide the stated coupon into parts defined by their payment schedule, for example, semi-annual pay. Bonds with floating rate coupons have set calculation schedules where the floating rate is calculated shortly before the next payment. Zero-coupon bonds do not pay interest. They are issued at a deep discount to account for the implied interest.
Because most bonds have predictable income, they are typically purchased as part of a more conservative investment scheme. Nevertheless, investors have the ability to actively trade bonds, especially corporate bonds and municipal bonds with the market and can make or lose money depending on economic, interest rate, and issuer factors.
Bond interest is taxed as ordinary income, in contrast to dividend income, which receives favorable taxation rates. However many government and municipal bonds are exempt from one or more types of taxation.
Investment companies allow individual investors the ability to participate in the bond markets through bond funds, closed-end funds and unit-investment trusts. In 2006 total bond fund net inflows increased 97% from $30.8 billion in 2005 to $60.8 billion in 2006.Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are another alternative to trading or investing directly in a bond issue. These securities allow individual investors the ability to overcome large initial and incremental trading sizes.
A number of bond indices exist for the purposes of managing portfolios and measuring performance, similar to the S&P 500 or Russell Indexes for stocks. The most common American benchmarks are the Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index, Citigroup BIG and Merrill Lynch Domestic Master. Most indices are parts of families of broader indices that can be used to measure global bond portfolios, or may be further subdivided by maturity or sector for managing specialized portfolios.
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices at which the unit is traded. When used by academics, an arbitrage is a transaction that involves no negative cash flow at any probabilistic or temporal state and a positive cash flow in at least one state; in simple terms, it is the possibility of a risk-free profit after transaction costs. For example, an arbitrage opportunity is present when there is the opportunity to instantaneously buy something for a low price and sell it for a higher price.
A high-yield bond is a term in finance for a bond that is rated below investment grade. These bonds have a higher risk of default or other adverse credit events, but typically pay higher yields than better quality bonds in order to make them attractive to investors.
In finance, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. The most common types of bonds include municipal bonds and corporate bonds.
In finance, a convertible bond or convertible note or convertible debt is a type of bond that the holder can convert into a specified number of shares of common stock in the issuing company or cash of equal value. It is a hybrid security with debt- and equity-like features. It originated in the mid-19th century, and was used by early speculators such as Jacob Little and Daniel Drew to counter market cornering.
In finance, the yield on a security is the amount of cash that returns to the owners of the security, in the form of interest or dividends received from it. Normally, it does not include the price variations, distinguishing it from the total return. Yield applies to various stated rates of return on stocks, fixed income instruments, and some other investment type insurance products.
United States Treasury securities are government debt instruments issued by the United States Department of the Treasury to finance government spending as an alternative to taxation. Treasury securities are often referred to simply as Treasurys. Since 2012, U.S. government debt has been managed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, succeeding the Bureau of the Public Debt.
A repurchase agreement, also known as a repo, is a form of short-term borrowing, mainly in government securities. The dealer sells the underlying security to investors and buys them back shortly afterwards, usually the following day, at a slightly higher price.
In finance, the yield curve is a curve showing several yields or interest rates across different contract lengths for a similar debt contract. The curve shows the relation between the interest rate and the time to maturity, known as the "term", of the debt for a given borrower in a given currency.
Fixed income refers to any type of investment under which the borrower or issuer is obliged to make payments of a fixed amount on a fixed schedule. For example, the borrower may have to pay interest at a fixed rate once a year, and to repay the principal amount on maturity. Fixed-income securities can be contrasted with equity securities – often referred to as stocks and shares – that create no obligation to pay dividends or any other form of income.
A callable bond is a type of bond that allows the issuer of the bond to retain the privilege of redeeming the bond at some point before the bond reaches its date of maturity. In other words, on the call date(s), the issuer has the right, but not the obligation, to buy back the bonds from the bond holders at a defined call price. Technically speaking, the bonds are not really bought and held by the issuer but are instead cancelled immediately.
Gilt-edged securities are bonds issued by the UK Government. The term is of British origin, and then referred to the debt securities issued by the Bank of England on behalf of His/Her Majesty's Treasury, whose paper certificates had a gilt edge. Hence, they are known as gilt-edged securities, or gilts for short. Today the term is used in the United Kingdom as well as some Commonwealth nations, such as South Africa and India. However, when reference is made to "gilts", what is generally meant is UK gilts, unless otherwise specified.
A bond fund or debt fund is a fund that invests in bonds, or other debt securities. Bond funds can be contrasted with stock funds and money funds. Bond funds typically pay periodic dividends that include interest payments on the fund's underlying securities plus periodic realized capital appreciation. Bond funds typically pay higher dividends than CDs and money market accounts. Most bond funds pay out dividends more frequently than individual bonds.
An inverse floating rate note, or simply an inverse floater, is a type of bond or other type of debt instrument used in finance whose coupon rate has an inverse relationship to short-term interest rates. With an inverse floater, as interest rates rise the coupon rate falls. The basic structure is the same as an ordinary floating rate note except for the direction in which the coupon rate is adjusted. These two structures are often used in concert.
Dedicated portfolio theory, in finance, deals with the characteristics and features of a portfolio built to generate a predictable stream of future cash inflows. This is achieved by purchasing bonds and/or other fixed income securities that can and usually are held to maturity to generate this predictable stream from the coupon interest and/or the repayment of the face value of each bond when it matures. The goal is for the stream of cash inflows to exactly match the timing of a predictable stream of cash outflows due to future liabilities. For this reason it is sometimes called cash matching, or liability-driven investing. Determining the least expensive collection of bonds in the right quantities with the right maturities to match the cash flows is an analytical challenge that requires some degree of mathematical sophistication. College level textbooks typically cover the idea of “dedicated portfolios” or “dedicated bond portfolios” in their chapters devoted to the uses of fixed income securities.
Securitization is the financial practice of pooling various types of contractual debt such as residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto loans or credit card debt obligations and selling their related cash flows to third party investors as securities, which may be described as bonds, pass-through securities, or collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Investors are repaid from the principal and interest cash flows collected from the underlying debt and redistributed through the capital structure of the new financing. Securities backed by mortgage receivables are called mortgage-backed securities (MBS), while those backed by other types of receivables are asset-backed securities (ABS).
A stable value fund is a type of investment available in 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans as well as some 529 or tuition assistance plans. Stable value funds are often made available in these plans under a name that intends to describe the nature of the fund. They offer principal preservation, predictable returns, and a rate higher than similar options without proportionately increasing risk. The funds are structured in various ways, but in general they are composed of high quality, diversified fixed income portfolios that are protected against interest rate volatility by contracts from banks and insurance companies. For example, a stable value fund may hold highly rated government or corporate debt, asset-backed securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, and cash equivalents. Stable value funds are designed to preserve principal while providing steady, positive returns, and are considered one of the lowest risk investment options offered in 401(k) plans. Stable value funds have recently been returning an annualized average of 2.72% as of October 2014, higher than the 0.08% offered by money-market funds, and are offered in 165,000 retirement plans.
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