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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 35361  
Subject: Re: Fidelity vs. E*Trade for Bonds Date: 9/17/2012 11:34 AM
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Well, my survey went faster than I expected, and the results are what I should have expected. The bond market is a $%@in’ mess. Brokers do exactly as they please, the customer be damned. But here’s some concrete examples.

-I’ve already established that Fido (this morning, who knows what things will be like tomorrow?) is quoting Delaize lower than ET.

-When I asked for quotes on Ultrapetrol, I got the same prices, but different minimum required purchases. F, 80(5) ET, 80(2).

-When I asked for ShopKo, Fido wouldn’t quote.

-When I asked for Venoco, Fido quoted two issues, ET only one. But on what ET quoted, they were a point lower than Fidelity.

It’s chaos. $@#^in’ chaos. But this seems to be the pattern. Although there are exceptions, in general, E*Trade (and Zions Direct) quote a wider inventory than anyone else, and generally, at least in the past, E*Trade and Zions could be counted on to quote the inside market, meaning, you weren’t going to find a lower ask unless a broker was holding a small lot in-house and had priced it to move fast. But even just the quick poking around I did suggests that if you truly want the best price and/or the smallest minimum, you gotta shop around.

OTOH, I will say this. In adversity, there is opportunity. The more obstacles there are, the easier it will be for a determined buyer to gain a small edge over his/her competitors. A point here, a point there might not seem like much. But the bond game is nothing if not a fight for every basis point you can grab. So executing at the best prices contributes to the difference between merely average returns and possibly superior ones.
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