Online resources available to fixed income investors are many and growing. Start first by looking closely at major newspapers such as the Wall St. Journal, New York Times and Financial Times. Each of these newspapers offers unique and useful information for fixed income investors.
Here is a list of some useful fixed income websites:
FINRA.org (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). FINRA is the independent regulatory authority formed by the merger of the regulatory arms of the NYSE and NASD. It developed a system known as TRACE (Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine) through which brokerage firms who are FINRA members are required to report their fixed income trades. The data produced by the TRACE system is available to individual investors through this website.
Market Data: FINRA’s market data section provides useful information on stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options.
Company Information: Provides both a snapshot and detailed information about a company’s equity and fixed income securities, options, financial ratios, valuation measures, SEC filings and more, all on one page.
Bond Center: http://finra-markets.morningstar.com/BondCenter/Default.jsp This is the gateway that provides access to the TRACE fixed income trading database. It offers a simple screener (with a link to an Advanced Bond Screener) that allows investors to search for information and trading data on U.S. Treasury, corporate and municipal bonds. For example, the screener can be used to find all of the publicly-traded bonds of a single company, along with detailed information about each bond issue. (Here, for example, investors can get a bond’s CUSIP number.) The Bond Center also allows you to screen for a list of bonds that meet certain criteria, such as yield ranges, maturities and credit ratings.
The Bond Center home page provides summary data on daily corporate bond trading activity, including performance data on two key benchmarks: the FINRA/Bloomberg Investment Grade Index and the FINRA/Bloomberg High Yield Index. It also gives a list of the day’s most actively-traded corporate bonds, which is carried in the pages of most major business newspapers. Performance data on the FINRA/Bloomberg benchmarks is reported daily in the financial pages of the New York Times.
Watchlist. One of the Market Data section’s most useful features is the Watchlist, which allows investors to get current pricing on their own personal list of U.S. Treasury, corporate and municipal bonds, all on one page.
The Wall St. Journal and The Wall St. Journal Online http://online.wsj.com/public/us – (subscription required) Fixed income resources include the daily Credit Markets column, which reports on timely issues affecting the U.S. Treasury markets and other fixed income sectors. The Markets Data section of the Wall St. Journal Online provides a variety of daily statistics on the bond market and various sectors within it. For example, you can get yields and spreads on a number of fixed income benchmark indices.
Barron’s and BarronsOnline www.barrons.com (subscription required) also offers some useful tools including its weekly Current Yield column and bond market statistics. On the web site, you can also see a weekly list of bond rating upgrades and downgrades.
U.S. Treasury – Daily Treasury Yield Curve The U.S. Treasury offers daily closing yields on Treasury securities ranging from 1-month T-Bills to 30-year Treasury bonds at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield. The site includes historical yield curve levels going back for many years.
TreasuryDirect.gov is the website of the U.S. Treasury Dept. which allows you to purchase and sell U.S. Treasury securities and savings bonds directly from the government, with no commission. It also provides information about U.S. Treasury securities, including the results of recent offerings and, for example, the detailed inflation-adjustment calculations on TIPS.
U.S. Federal Reserve has a number of economic reports and detailed interest rate statistics available on its website at www.federalreserve.gov. A wide range of daily and weekly interest rates from commercial paper to Treasuries to swap rates is available. The site also provides the text of the messages accompany decisions of the Federal Open Market Committee and major speeches by Federal Reserve Board members.
Ratings Agency Websites All of the credit ratings agencies have websites that offer free content provided that you register. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s generally limit the amount of information available for free. However, Fitch Ratings offers a surprisingly large amount of free content, which is usually quite good.
Fitch Ratings www.fitchratings.com
Standard & Poor’ www.standardandpoors.com
Investing in Bonds www.investinginbonds.com Sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, this web site offers much of the same pricing information available on the finra.org web site and more. For example, it offers performance charts on several bond indexes and periodic market commentary on the municipal, government and corporate sectors. It also has a bond calculator and other resources that are useful to those learning about bonds.
Bonds Online Group The Group has several website devoted to fixed income investors. I must confess that I find the content here to be pretty disappointing. However, the Group has a newsletter, Yield and Income, which provides a summary of the fixed income and equity strategies recommended by the major broker firms. Its websites include:
Bloomberg The purveyor of the Bloomberg terminal, which is the life source of institutional fixed income investors, Bloomberg is also a news service and media provider. Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio produce programs and stories that are of great interest to fixed income investors. On its website, Bloomberg provides some useful fixed income news and data, including:
Bond market news and rates: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/rates-bonds/government-bonds/us/
Corporate bonds: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/rates-bonds/corporate-bonds/
Quantum Online www.quantumonline.com A free website (registration required) which that provides info on preferred stocks, closed-end funds and exchange-traded fixed income securities. The site gives links to the prospectus of each preferred stock offering, for example.
EMMA emma.msrb.org The Electronic Municipal Market Access system is the official repository for information on municipal bonds. EMMA provides free public access to official disclosures, trade data, credit ratings, educational materials and other information about the municipal securities market.
The Bond Buyer www.bondbuyer.com The Bond Buyer is the only daily newspaper committed to serving the municipal bond industry. It reaches more than 40,000 municipal finance professionals, bond issuers, government officials, and investors with comprehensive news, analysis, and data on municipal finance much of which is unavailable through any other news outlet.
Originally published February 28, 2008. Updated May 8, 2014 and February 4, 2016.
Stephen P. Percoco
P.O. Box 1543
Linden, NJ 07036
© 2014, 2016 Lark Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Information is carefully compiled but not guaranteed to be free from error. Specific reference to any specific security should never be construed as a solicitation to either buy or sell. Reproduction without permission from the publisher is prohibited.