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Author: Crosenfield Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35400  
Subject: Re: Corporate Bonds - Where to start? Date: 7/30/2010 10:13 PM
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E-trade is one of the best places to find bonds. The tab is just to the right of the one for quotes. It says "Investment Pruducts". Go there and look around. Click on bonds. It will immediately give you a compendium of ball-park figures for interest rates of bonds, CDs and the like, for munis and corporates of different grades. The tab above this listing says "Search and Trade". Click on that. Then it will ask you for parameters about whether you want a bond issued by a specific company, what coupon you want, what price, what type of issuer--municipal, treasury, agency, corporate. If corporate, what type of industry. Play around, and have it bring up listings. It will tell you what is available and there are thousands of bonds. You will be overwhelmed. Then go think about it. Is there a particular company you would be happy to loan money? Ask the system whether it has any bonds issued by that company.
Bond yields now are historically low, so you may want to remain relatively short term.

Now I like step-up bonds. Before a rate increase the bond is likely to be called, but if it is, I've only loaned the company money for a year or two and gotten a much better rate than I would have for short-term paper. But YMMV. GE has a bunch of step-up bonds; look and you can see what I mean.

And I agree with Jack. Wouldn't own a bond fund on a bet, not in this interest rate environment. When interest rates increase, which they will (I don't know when) the NAVs will drop and may well never come back. Bonds will mature, and will pay out 100 cents on the dollar--if the company doesn't go belly-up.

In financial hard times, bond holders are ahead of stock holders in the food chain.

Best wishes, Chris
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