No. of Recommendations: 4
Peter,

There isn't a single bond market, just as there isn't a single stock market, but networks of underlying desks that overlap --but don't coincide-- with the brokers who use them and route orders preferentially. Thus, one broker might be showing a different lot of bonds than another, with different prices and mins, and refresh out of synch with each other. Thus, "you gotta shop around" if you truly need the best price at that moment.

FINRA's data is trustworthy. I use E*Trade's search-engine to scan for bonds. I dump the data into a spreadsheet, discount for taxes and inflation, re-sort, and then do the FA/TA stuff on individual issues/issuers. If all still looks goods, I see whether I can execute in the size I need. (Sometimes, I can't. E.g., Alibaba's bonds currently have a 200-bond min.)

Don't hesitate to look at out-of-state munis, especially GOs or issuers with real assets. And they aren't hard to vet. Just pull their documentation. If it's of poor quality or the least bit questionable, pass. I own a ton of my own state's debt, but also issues from a dozen other states. (You gotta buy what's on sale, when it's on sale.)

Currently, the huge advantage Treasuries are offering is zero-commish, easy executions, exemption from state taxes, and very short maturities. In short, it's (nearly) worry-free debt, not that our dear gov't is a Triple-AAA issuer or has never defaulted and won't do so again. But Treasuries are the least dirty shirt in the laundry basket, and they're an easy way to park money while waiting for the next crash.

Arindam
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