Bonds are debt securities issued by governments, municipalities, corporations, and other entities to raise capital. When an investor buys a bond, they are essentially lending money to the issuer in exchange for regular interest payments and the return of the principal amount at the bond’s maturity.
Here are the key features of bonds:
- Issuer: The entity that issues the bond, which can be a government, corporation, municipality, or other organisation.
- Face Value/Par Value: The initial value of the bond, which represents the amount the bondholder will receive when the bond matures.
- Coupon Rate: The annual interest rate that the bond pays, expressed as a percentage of the face value. This determines the amount of interest the bondholder will receive.
- Maturity Date: The date on which the bond reaches its full term and the issuer repays the bondholder the face value of the bond.
- Interest Payments: Bondholders receive periodic interest payments (known as coupons) based on the coupon rate and the face value of the bond. These payments are typically made semiannually.
- Yield: The yield is the effective annual rate of return an investor can expect to earn from holding the bond until maturity, factoring in both the coupon payments and the bond’s purchase price.
- Market Price: Bonds can be traded in secondary markets, and their prices can fluctuate based on changes in interest rates, credit risk perception, and other market factors. The market price of a bond may be higher or lower than its face value.
- Credit Rating: Bonds are assigned credit ratings by credit rating agencies, reflecting the issuer’s creditworthiness and the level of risk associated with the bond. Higher-rated bonds are generally considered lower risk.
Bonds are popular investment vehicles because they provide a relatively predictable stream of income in the form of interest payments and are often considered less volatile than stocks. They offer investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios and manage risk, and they serve as a means for governments and companies to raise capital for various projects and operations.