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Author: trader2012 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35342  
Subject: Re: Bond Investing Newsletter Date: 10/28/2012 8:43 PM
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folgore,

If you want to learn from Cohen about bond-investing, then read her books and articles. $349 for a newsletter subscription is money that could be spent on a second monitor (so you can set up a minimalist trading station), and that's going to be of far more help in finding bond investing opportunities. (That, and basic familiarity with a spreadsheet.)

The essence of bond investing is comparison shopping. "What am I being offered for how much I have to pay?" If the price is disproportionate to risks (as is currently true of most of the upper-tier stuff), you look at the next offering, and the next, and the next, meaning, "Of the 10,000 to 20,000 bonds offered, which half dozen might be worth digging into?"

How are those half dozen found? By running scans, and it's a whole lot easier to run the scans if you can move freely between multiple screens each of which is offering different info rather than having to go back and forth between minimized/maximized pages.

As for account size, I'd agree that we all started way back when with a less than an optimally-sized account and that no matter how big one's account is, there will always be trades one can't do (or shouldn't do) just because their size would create unacceptable risks. For very defensible reasons, Cohen isn't an "odd-lotter". But "odd-lotting" is the only way a small account can break into bonds and be competitive. (Otherwise, why not just buy a bond fund?)

So, again, the audience best served by Cohen's newsletter are those whom Ben Grahan would call "Defensive Investors", and well-heeled ones at that. But small accounts aren't going to make enough money playing that game to make it worthwhile for them. Instead, they should just buy a bond fund and be done with it. But if their intention is to become what Graham would call an Enterprising Fixed-income Investor", then my bet is that they don't need Cohen's newsletter, because they are going to be in the market shopping daily and seeing things weeks before her subscribers do, as well as pushing the risk envelope beyond what she does.

Again, I've got a lot of respect for her work, and she offers good guidance to those who want to play a defensive bond-game. But, also, that's not where the serious money is to be found. So it becomes a Catch-22 situation. If an investor is content with average, fixed-income returns, he/she shouldn't be doing his/her own investing. Just buy one of the many very decent bond funds there are, especially one with a flexible charter such as those offered by Loomis Sayles. But if an investor wants above average performance, then depending on anyone's newsletter isn't going to provide it.

Charlie
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