Regardless of whether ‘s the Dax, Dow Jones, or MSCI World: When it comes to stock market reporting, the focus is usually on the stock markets. The bond markets are also interesting. Some private investors are also interested in bonds (bonds UK) because they are generally suitable as a relatively safe investment for long periods of time. On average, bond prices fluctuate less than stocks. Bonds that are traded on an exchange can be resold by investors. This is a key advantage compared to fixed deposits, where you are tied to your bank.
What You Need To Know About Bonds
At its most basic, a bond is a security that promises you regular, fixed interest payments. However, many new types of bonds have been developed and introduced to the market in recent decades. At first glance, bonds appear to be complicated securities. On closer inspection, however, they can be easily understood if you know the most important properties:
Yield – The most important indicator is the expected annual yield, which results from the term, the specified interest payments, the purchase price, and the repurchase price of the bond. The return is given as a percentage. It is the annual interest that an investor can expect if he keeps the bond in his portfolio until the end of the term. The most important factors affecting returns are market interest rates, the remaining life of the bond, and the financial strength of the issuing government or company. The longer the term and the lower the credit rating, the higher the return you can expect.
Coupon – Most bonds pay out periodic interest payments, also known as a coupon. However, coupons and yield are not the same. While the coupon is fixed, the yield on bonds fluctuates daily with their prices. When bond prices go up, yields go down, and when they go down, they go up.
Face Value – The face value is the amount written on the bond and at which it will usually be redeemed. Bonds that are also to be sold to private investors often have a nominal value of EUR 1,000.
Market Value – Bonds are priced as a percentage of their face value. A price of 100 percent corresponds exactly to the face value. A price of 110 means that the bond’s value is about 10 percent higher than its face value.
Remaining term – The remaining term indicates when the bond will be repaid.
Price Fluctuations – Bond prices fluctuate. This is because the yield adjusts according to the current interest rate level. When interest rates fall, bond prices rise. When interest rates rise, they fall. Interest rates are influenced by many factors. The most important are economic growth, expectations about inflation, and the monetary policy of the central banks. If the central banks lend money cheaply, this usually pushes down interest rates.
Trading – You can buy and sell bonds on the stock market. Bonds are traded at different rates. In technical jargon one also speaks of liquidity. If the securities are traded less frequently – i.e. are less liquid – you can expect a higher return. In the event of a possible resale, however, you must expect deductions, since it is not so easy to find a new buyer.
Single purchase or fund – You can buy bonds either individually or as a fund. A fund has the advantage that you invest in several bonds. This reduces the risk of loss due to non-payment. However, the fund manager charges an annual fee for this. We prefer the fund solution, especially for riskier bonds, since you spread the risk over a large number of individual securities.
Currency fluctuations – With bonds that are not issued in euros but, for example, in US dollars, you run a currency risk. This can be higher than the interest in the security itself. So be aware that possible currency fluctuations can significantly affect your profit or loss – even if you buy a safe bond.
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At present, however, interest rates on bonds are low. The expected return on a ten-year federal bond was even negative for a long time and was still a good 1 percent per year in the summer of 2022. You currently get similar returns for good one-year time deposits.