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Bond



Definition

A bond is a debt security issued by entities such as corporations or governments to raise funds. Investors who purchase bonds are essentially loaning money to the issuer in exchange for periodic interest payments and the return of the bond’s face value when it matures. They are commonly used as a method of long-term investment.

Phonetic

The phonetic spelling of “Bond” is: /bɒnd/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Bonds are fixed income securities that provide periodic interest payments and return the principal at maturity
  2. They are considered safer than stocks because bondholders have a higher claim on a company’s assets and earnings
  3. The two main types of bonds are corporate bonds, issued by companies, and government bonds, issued by various levels of government

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Importance

A bond is an essential instrument in business and finance because it is a form of debt security that companies or governments issue to raise capital. The significance of a bond lies in its ability to provide a stable and predictable income stream to investors, typically through regular interest payment, and the return of the principal amount upon maturity. Conversely, the issuing organization is able to fund various projects or activities without immediately depleting their cash reserves. This makes bonds a vital component in financial markets, aiding in diversification, managing risk, and bolstering economic growth. Thus, understanding bonds is crucial for both corporate financial management and personal investment strategies.

Explanation

A bond, in finance/business terminology, is essentially a loan extended by an investor to a borrower, typically corporate or governmental. The purpose of a bond is to raise capital for various projects or operations that the borrower might not be able to fund otherwise. For the investor, it serves as a means to generate income through periodic interest payments made by the borrower. The borrower issues a bond that states the interest rate (also known as the coupon) that will be paid and when the loaned funds (bond principal) will be returned (maturity date).Therefore, bonds are used as a tool both by companies or governments to finance projects and operations and by investors to earn income. Governments generally use the proceeds from bonds to fund infrastructure projects, while companies can use it for business expansion. For investors, especially those who prioritize safety, bonds are an attractive investment because they offer relatively predictable returns with lower risk compared to stocks. As such, they are an integral part of any well-diversified portfolio.

Examples

1. Treasury Bonds (T-Bonds): These are issued by the U.S. government through the Department of Treasury. Treasury bonds are known for their safety as they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Plus, they offer regular interest payments to bondholders every six months until maturity.2. Municipal Bonds: These are debt securities issued by state and local governments to finance public projects such as roads, schools, and hospitals. Investing in these is often considered low risk, plus, the interest earned is typically federal tax-free.3. Corporate Bonds: These are issued by private and public corporations to raise funds for various business needs – it could be for operation expansions, research and development, or to pay off old debts. Unlike government bonds, corporate bonds usually offer higher returns or coupons considering that they generally come with higher risk. A prime example would be the $6.5 billion bond issuance by Apple Inc in 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a bond in Financial Terms?

A bond is a debt security, similar to an IOU, which is issued by entities such as governments and corporations, promising to pay back a fixed amount of money at a certain time along with interest payments at fixed durations.

Who issues bonds?

Bonds are typically issued by governments, municipalities, and corporations for running their operations or for financing projects.

Who invests in bonds?

Primarily, institutional and individual investors buy bonds as they offer regular income, and they are generally considered less risky than stocks.

What are the different types of bonds?

The three main types of bonds are government bonds, corporate bonds, and municipal bonds. Others can include savings bonds, treasury bonds, and junk bonds.

What does bond yield mean?

Bond yield refers to the return an investor realizes on a bond. It can be measured in several ways, with the most common being nominal yield, current yield, and yield to maturity.

What does it mean when a bond matures?

When a bond matures, it means it has reached the end of its term, and the bond issuer has to pay the bondholder the principal amount of the bond.

What is a bond coupon?

A bond coupon refers to the fixed interest amount that the bond issuer will pay to the bondholder periodically until the bond’s maturity.

What is a bond rating?

A bond rating is a grade given to bonds based on the risk of default of the issuing entity. The higher the rating, the more creditworthy the issuer.

What happens if a bond issuer defaults?

If a bond issuer defaults, it means they have failed to make the required interest or principal payments to the bondholders. In such cases, the bondholders may lose part or all of their investment.

Do bonds offer capital appreciation potential?

Bonds typically do not offer capital appreciation like stocks. However, they can be sold at a higher price in the secondary market prior to maturity if interest rates decrease, leading to potential capital gains.

Related Finance Terms

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