I like Morningstar as they seem like a company that is at least attempting to continually improve their spreadth and depth of offering.I don't know how long they've been doing the Bond thing, but their latest tool is pretty cool.http://quicktake.morningstar.com/StockNet/bonds.aspx?Symbol=...They now break down the capital structure for companies (equity, preferred, bonds) and also breakdown the ownership and YTM of the bonds/preferreds.The cool thing that I think folks will appreciate here is that they break down the different bond offerings by size/maturity/YTM graphically. Check it out, I think it's a pretty valuable little chart, even if all of the bonds won't be available via ETrade, etc, it's still pretty cool.I'm an equity guy of course, so maybe this isn't as cool for you guys. ;-)Ben
Ben,My quick impression is that M*’s new bond toy is eye-candy, not yet a serious research tool. Specifically, the price quotes are stale/inaccurate and the estimates of credit quality seem haphazardous. However, M* is nothing if not aggressive about providing analysis and rankings, so, in time, the feature should become useful. As a “chartist”, I’m glad to see them move in the direction of pictures, rather than just numbers. The tool is “beta”, and at the bottom of the page Morningstar solicits feedback. So some nudging from users could move them to make needed changes/additions. Specifically, I’d like them to spell out what they intend to mean by the various credit-quality rankings they attach to an issuer’s specific issues. E.g., AMD’s currently-offered bonds carry a B- rating from S&P, but M* ranks their 5.75’s of ’12 as “Low” and their 6’s of ’15 and 7.75’s of ’12 as “Middle”. Why the differences? Also, they rank both Microsoft’s and GE’s bonds as being of “High” quality. BRRZK! Wrong. There are huge differences between the two, as the green ink that paints MSFT’s financial ratios suggest and the red ink that paints GE’s. One of them truly is a financially strong company. The other is in serious trouble. It will take some poking around to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the new feature. But kudos to you for linking it.
The Morningstar tool looks useful, particularly the overlapping debt bubbles in the graph at the bottom, so you can see where the maturities pile up graphically.It has a way to go.
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