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Shorting bonds is all but impossible at the retail level, because you're an ant among elephants and likely to get trampled. But a cousin trade is possible wherein you go long a high-coupon bond you suspect will fail at the same time hedging the position by buying a put on the common. Obviously, this trade can blow up on you if the put expires before the issuer declares BK (or a whole bunch of other scenarios). But meanwhile, you're hopefully market-neutral and collecting the coupon.

Years ago, I ran a bunch of these trades and did well, then backed off, looking for easier, less risky money. But last summer, disgusted with the Fed's intention to beggar us all with ZIRP (and persistent stupidity), I returned to the trade on which I'm down by (-$106) on the bond leg, up $110 on the option leg, and collecting a 6.8% coupon.

WARNING: This is strictly a tiny money, don't-the-farm, trade whose purpose is as much about keeping one's hand in the game as it is about turning a potential profit.
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