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Discount Yield


Discount yield is a financial term used to present the annual return on an investment as a percentage of its face value. This measure applies primarily to fixed-income investments like Treasury bills and commercial paper that are sold at a discount to their face value. The calculations do not take compounding interest into account, instead, it’s based on the initial investment’s purchase price.


The phonetics of the keyword “Discount Yield” is: /ˈdɪskaʊnt jiːld/

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>Discount Yield is a method of calculation used to evaluate the annual yield of a bond, note, or any other interest-bearing financial instrument that is traded or sold below its face value or par value.</li><li>It is often associated with Treasury Bills and similar short-term investment products, which are typically issued at a discount as opposed to paying periodic interest. The yield is calculated based on the discount amount and the period until maturity.</li><li>While it provides useful information, the Discount Yield is not a complete measure of a bond’s actual yield as it does not take into account the reinvestment of the bond’s interest payments or any potential capital gains or losses.</li></ol>


Discount yield is a key concept in business and finance, as it helps investors understand the potential return they can expect on an investment relative to its face value. Calculation of discount yield involves considering the total return received at maturity minus its purchase price, and annualizing this return as a percentage of the face value of the investment. Crucially, it enables investors to compare the profitability of various investments, such as Treasury bills and other discount instruments. Furthermore, it can also assist in assessing market trends and conditions by comparing yields over time. Understanding discount yield thus aids in informed investment decisions, fostering strategic planning and financial management.


Discount yield is a financial concept primarily used for determining the annualized yield of a financial instrument that is issued at a discount, specifically, treasury bills and other money market instruments. It’s used by investors and analysts to evaluate the profitability of an investment, in relation to its face value and the amount of discount provided at the time of purchase. Discount yield helps in understanding the return that an investor will receive upon the maturity of the instrument, hence assisting in investment decision-making.The purpose of utilizing discount yield is to measure the return on an investment with respect to its original purchase price rather than its face value, giving a more accurate measure of profitability. Investment in treasury bills and similar securities are essentially loans from the investor to the issuer. The issuer sells these securities at a discount to their face value to raise funds. The difference between the purchase price and the face value when the security matures, as a percentage of the face value, represents the discount yield. Therefore, discount yield provides investors with the tool needed to evaluate the profitability of their investment, helping them compare different investment options and make more informed investment decisions.


1. Treasury Bills: The US Treasury issues bonds known as Treasury Bills (T-Bills) which are short-term debt securities with maturity periods of one year or less. These are sold at a discount yield – meaning they’re sold for less than their face value. If a T-bill has a face value of $1,000 and is sold for $950, the discount yield is the difference in price ($50), which represents the return on investment for the bond purchaser.2. Commercial Paper: Commercial Paper is a common type of unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued by corporations, typically used for the financing of payroll, accounts payable, and inventories. These are often issued at a discount, not bearing any interest, and redeemed at face value. For example, a piece of commercial paper with a face value of $10,000 might be issued at $9,800 and then redeemed at $10,000 at maturity, with the $200 difference representing the discount yield.3. Banker’s Acceptances: A banker’s acceptance is a short-term debt instrument that is issued by a company that is guaranteed by a commercial bank. Similar to T-bills and commercial papers, banker’s acceptances are also issued at a discount and redeemed at maturity for full face value. The difference between the purchase price and the face value is the investor’s yield or return on investment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Discount Yield?

Discount Yield is a measure of a bond’s percentage return, used commonly for Treasury bills and similar securities. It is calculated by annualizing the discount rate (the difference between the face value and purchase price), based on a 360-day year.

How is Discount Yield calculated?

The Discount Yield is calculated by subtracting the price you bought the bond for from its face value, dividing that by face value, and then annualizing it based on a 360-day year.

What does a high Discount Yield indicate?

A high Discount Yield indicates a greater return for your investment, as the difference between the face value and purchase price is more significant.

Can Discount Yield be negative?

No, Discount Yield cannot be negative. If it’s a discount security, it is sold below face value and at maturity, its value increases to face value.

Can Discount Yield give a full picture of the potential returns of a bond?

Not always. While Discount Yield gives a simple measure of return, it does not take into consideration the effects of compounding or the possibility of receiving interest payments. Thus, it might not provide a complete picture of potential returns, especially for bonds not bought at a discount.

Is Discount Yield the same as Yield to Maturity?

No, they are not the same. While both are calculated on an annual basis, Yield to Maturity takes into account all payments from a bond (including regular interest payments), whereas Discount Yield only considers the capital gains at maturity for bonds bought at a discount.

What type of bonds are usually evaluated by the Discount Yield?

The Discount Yield is typically used for Treasury bills and zero-coupon bonds, which do not make periodic interest payments and instead are issued at a discount to their face value.

How often is Discount Yield utilized in financial markets?

Discount Yield is commonly used in short-term bond markets, particularly with Treasury bills. This is because these instruments are typically issued at a discount to face value and do not make regular interest payments.

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