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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 35276  
Subject: Re: Your Best Pal, Ben? Date: 9/16/2012 4:48 PM
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FYI, I find that Fidelity quite often has a larger (and better) selection of bond offer prices compared to Etrade (although they don’t seem to list as many issues). I think FIDO also uses the Knight Bondpoint platform as well as Bond DESK. They have upgraded their search software over the past year, and it is quite good now. And they have knowledgeable fixed-income people to talk too. Fidelity is now my primary bond broker.

WOW, that IS good news. I've got an account with Fido that I've been neglecting. I'll have to take another look.

When I said "modest", I was serious. Consider Graham's three categories of "Defensive", Enterprising", "Speculative" and match them up with the kind of money bonds each category would offer. Then run the same exercise with stocks. The embedded put that bonds offer has to be paid for. I'd price it at one Fib notch.

In other words, using investing methods that would qualify as "defensive", a stock investor should be pulling an average 8% out of his market, but a defensive bond investor won't make much more than 5%. Ditto the same sort of difference with Enterprising and Speculative. E.g., 13% for a junk bond investor is a reasonable benchmark. But 21% is more like it for a junk stock investor.

Also, don't just look at the past 40 years for estimating what junk bonds can offer. Go back a lot further and distinguish between the relatively recent phenomenon of "high-yields" that came to prominence with Milken and classic fixed-income value investing. The put function has to be paid for. That down-grades bond yields to "modest" at best.

Somewhere, I've got a spreadsheet in which I scaled out this stuff when I was trying to teach my daughter some of the basics of how to think about and manage risk. If I can find it, I'll post it.

Now I'm out the door for my afternoon ride.

Charlie
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