FAQ Corporate Bonds

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I am in need of an online bond (corporate) screening software program to help me sort the listed bond market by pre- specified criteria. Any thoughts or ideas?? Check the following for bond screening software- They are designed for large institutions and the cost may be too much.

  • One Source Information Service Cambridge, Mass. This is a division of LOTUS. They have CD/Investment: Fixed Income covering the Treasury and corporate markets.
  • Securities Data Co. in Newark, NJ has a database of corporate new issues. I don’t know if they have screening software.
  •  I checked GALE Directory of Databases and couldn’t come up with any other.
  • Electronic Joint Venture (EJV) has a corporate database but I believe that it starts at around $125,000.
  • Fitch Information Services has a good database of Treasuries and corporates but it is only electronic data. You have to build your own viewer. It does not have bond prices.  Depending on configuration and amount of data needed, the cost starts at around $25,000 plus. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any reasonable service for the individual investor.

I am interested in good solid rating bonds. I would like to track the performance as well as update the ratings of certain corporate bonds.                           Also would like to get some idea of whether these companies may be selling new issues. Some issues/companies of interest are: Proctor and Gamble /Aarcher Daniels Midland / Deere/ Boise Cascade. Rated A or better/ par or discount/10 year call protection or longer/should be better interest than treasuries by 1% hopefully (if I am dreaming tell me gently, please.) Is there an online source? A publication? Thanks

Check your local or regional library for the following bond publications. If you are near a university then check the business library. They will give you information about ratings, new issues, and proposed issues. The following are weekly publications:

  • MOODY’S CORPORATE BOND PERSPECTIVES (formerly Moody’s Bond Survey)
  • Moody’s BOND RECORD
  • Standard & Poor’s BOND GUIDE

The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s also carry corporate bond new issue information. The rating agencies send out press releases on all of their public rating changes. Try an Internet search under Moody’s and/or S&P as they either have or are working on sites.   It looks like it may be a bit tough at the present time to earn 100 basis points (1 percentage point) more than comparable maturity Treasuries from A-rated or better corporates. Recent issue spreads are:

Low rated A 5 year maturity + 60 bp
Baa 10 year + 90
Baa/BBB+ 10 year + 119
A3/A- 20 year + 75
Republic of China (A3/BBB)
7 year + 113
Republic of China (A3/BBB) 20 year + 299

if you have a large full service broker he may be able to help you with new issues his firm underwrites. So many issues come to market these days on a moment’s notice that new issue corporate bond calendars aren’t as helpful as they once were.

What is your overall opinion of convertible bonds in today’s market?

While I personally haven’t done much with converts in recent years, I have a warm place in my heart for them. One of my early jobs was as a convert analyst and loan arranger at 5 to 10% margin. Our clients really were swingers back in the early 1960s. My first articles were on converts. I view converts as essentially a substitute for annuity. If you like a stock then you should check to see if it has a convertible affiliated with it.  If so, then get the terms of the convert and make an analysis. Does it offer a satisfactory potential return for the risk? Is it nearly as good as the common or is it overpriced? Some of the things to check are the conversion premium; call provisions; conversion premium recovery period; estimated value as a straight bond, i.e. one without a conversion option. Check out the conversion features to see if there is a step-up in the conversion price or does the conversion option expire shortly. I would also look at the size of the issue, as I prefer (others may have different views) issues of at least $100 million outstanding and listing on the NYSE. Some may leave out the NYSE listing and say an OTC issue is okay. In looking at LYONS or similar zero coupon converts the conventional premium recovery period isn’t applicable, as the bonds don’t pay current interest. With a LYON, if the stock doesn’t move then the conversion premium is steadily increasing. You may also want to check out usable bonds. These are straight bonds that can be used in lieu of cash on the exercise of warrants. These two together make a synthetic convert.

An article in the “Financial Analysts Journal” for Jan/Feb 1996 says in part:

From 1962 through September 1994, convertible bonds returned more than low-grade bonds but at a higher standard deviation of return. After adjusting for bond and stock market movements, convertible bonds outperformed low-grade bonds, but not at commonly accepted statistical levels of significance. Convertible bonds are more sensitive to stock market movements and less sensitive to bond market movements than low-grade bonds. Given the additional equity call option embedded in convertible bonds, they should behave more like stocks and less like bonds. In addition, like low-grade bonds, convertible bonds display a strong January effect. Good luck with your converts. Don’t forget that there are convertible preferred issues. Remember, if you like the stock, check to see if there is a convert. Investigate before you invest.


I’m working on a study involving the valuation of corporate debt. I need access to a database listing all the bond issues of various companies with information about the issues’ parameters and ratings. I am also interested in similar information about preferreds as well. Are any of the major bond rating organizations offering this type of service? How would I gain access to this information?

Fitch Investors Service has an excellent corporate bond database with data going back to the 1960’s. You may want to contact Joe Emanuelli at 1-800-75-FITCH to see if you can get access to their data. Also, please see the Rating Agencies section on BONDS ONLINE for information numbers for the other major US rating agencies.



Where can I find information online about specific corporate bonds, i.e. ratings, coupon dates, conversion prices etc. I’ve searched everywhere and haven’t had any luck.

I don’t know of any free online sources for fundamental corporate bond information. It might exist but I haven’t been online long enough to have gotten to it.  I suggest going to your local public or business or college library and seeking out the S&P Bond Guide or Moody’s Bond Record. These little volumes (and getting bigger every month) have loads of bond information and call prices, amounts issued and outstanding, conversion features, coupon payment dates, maturity dates etc. Much of what you need to know before purchasing a bond issue. I also suggest bond prospectuses and similar information filed with the SEC. DISCLOSURE makes available such information but it may be for a fee.  You may also try you full service (or limited service) stock/bond broker. Try the Bloomberg machine or the Telerate machines for such data.


I’m a MBA Student at Wayne State Univ. in Detroit. I am trying to find out the coupon payment dates for the above bond (IBM 7.5 13) I need to calculate the accrued interest in order to figure the purchase amount. Can I get this info online?

I am not aware of any free service that provides the level of detail you are looking for on the IBM 7.5 of 06/15/13 (CUSIP # 459200AL5). You might try calling Investor Relations at IBM or the Morgan Stanley Capital Markets group, the lead underwriter of the deal.


Can anyone tell me where I can find the cost of a bond if it was purchased on March 26, 1992?

To look up any information on the bond you are looking for I would need the CUSIP number and/or the coupon and maturity date for the security. Also, the name of the lead underwriter for the deal may help.

If this is a security you bought for your own account, your broker should have a record on file.

The cusip # is 845335AS7. The maturity date is 3/1/2014. I don’t know who the lead underwriter for the deal was. Please help!!

As you are probably aware the issue was called on 11/20/95 @ 103.07%. The best I can tell you now is the price on 3/06/92 was 95.94.  Blyth Eastman was the lead underwriter, but I don’t think they exist any more.

If I come up with anything else I will let you know.


Currently I am doing some research about Chrysler Auto. Corp. Could you please tell me the price and rating of Chrysler’s bonds. Otherwise, did they have bond or equity issues floated within the last five years? If yes, please tell me the dollar value of the issues. Thank you very much for your time and help.

I would suggest you do a little research of your own. Call Investor Relations at Chrysler directly for their Annual Reports or search the SEC EDGAR database (www.sec.gov) for their annual 10K filings. Either source can provide what you need.