No. of Recommendations: 2
It's a sure bet that a lot of us make a trip to the library to consult ValueLine before making a bond purchase, rather than pay their $600 subscription rate. But I just discovered their reports for the 30 stocks of the DJIA are available online for free:
http://www.valueline.com/Dow30/index.cfm
Why is a professed bond geek poking around in ValueLine? Because I'm still exploring the idea of using stocks as bond proxies, and ValueLine's research is consistent, comprehensive, and trustworthy (though it takes a bit of effort to learn to use effectively), which is why I'm calling your attention to the reports available for the DIJA, not to urge buying any of them, but as readily available practice material which can be used to test one's abilities to work with financial numbers and ratios as one builds a model for pricing the two asset classes of stacks and bonds relative to each other. In short, doing classic value investing.

In my case, I've been looking at stocks they rate 1 or 2 for Safety and 4 or 5 for six to twelve-month Timeliness, as a screen for finding stocks whose total return over a 3-5 year holding period might rival or significantly beat what might be obtained by buying equivalent-risk bonds, which I'll argue are currently very expensive the way their equity counterparts possibly are not (especially with the market's current turmoils). In short, what I'm looking for is companies with solid financials selling at discounts to their near-term potential but which might make good longer-term holdings, again on the theory that there is no financial instrument that doen't have an appropriate use at some time for some people but that, right now, things that carry guarantees, like Treasuries and CD's, are too expensive to merit attention from serious investors, as opposed to Chicken Littles, who perhaps aren't willing to do the work/take on the risks that serious investing takes and are willing to pay for hand-holding, by accepting historically low yields, even at the risk of not meeting their goals of long-term capital preservation, which is another argument and one to which I won't respond, but it's my belief and an insight that I trust, and each person can deal with the consequences of my CapPres equation as fits their own individual situation, which might vindicate their choices or show they need to make adjustments, which is for them to decide in consulation with their financial advisor(s).

Pickings are slim for bond-proxy candidates, as to be expected, and tend to be concentrated in certain industry sectors, but I'm just looking for a small basket of 4-5 companies in order to put some money to work and seem to be finding them. Best wishes with your own searches, if such a project interests you as a fixed-income investor.

Charlie
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