10.1 Characteristics of Bonds
Bonds are typically a basic form of investment that entails a straightforward financial agreement between issuer and purchaser. There are three primary categories of bonds: government bonds, corporate bonds, and convertible bonds. These different types of bond vary depending on their issuer, length until maturity, interest rate, and risk.
10.2 Bond Valuation
It is important to ascertain what a given bond is worth to a willing buyer and a willing seller. We can price a bond using an equation, a calculator, or a spreadsheet. The essential steps are (1) identify the amount and timing of the future cash flow; (2) determine the discount rate; (3) find the present values of the lump sum principal and the annuity stream of coupons; and (4) add the present value of the lump sum principal and the present value of the coupons.
10.3 Using the Yield Curve
When interest rate yields are plotted against their respective maturity periods and these plotted points are connected, the resulting line is called the yield curve. The yield curve is a graphical representation of the term structure of interest rates. A yield curve always shows the value of yields (rates) on the y-axis and maturities or time periods on the x-axis.
10.4 Risks of Interest Rates and Default
Because bonds are fixed-income investments, they are subject to a number of risks that could have negative effects on their market value. The most common and best-known risks are interest rate risk and default risk, but there are some others risks that should be understood, such as credit risk, liquidity risk, duration risk, call risk, investment risk, and term risk. To assist potential bond investors in understanding some of these risks, bond ratings have been developed and are regularly published by a number of organizations to express their assessment of the risk quality of various bond issues.
10.5 Using Spreadsheets to Solve Bond Problems
Microsoft Excel can be used to solve common bond problems. It can be used to calculate the value of a coupon bond, the yield to maturity (interest rate) of a bond, the maturity period of a bond, and the coupon rate and interest (coupon) payments of a bond.