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No. of Recommendations: 6
"You should be able to find that information in the prospectus for the issue. It should tell you how this debt ranks with other debt of the company."

Every broker that will sell you bonds offers info on the bond's ranking. There's little need (or use) to track down the prospectus, which is written by lawyers for lawyers.

"There used to be big books in the reference department of your local library that would list companies, all their debt issues, and relative standing."

These days, going to a library is a waste of time compared to using an online bond search engine.

"Personally, I'd trust the bond ratings. Junior debt or not if the issue is investment grade BBB or better is probably ok. Below that, yields are higher but not worth the ulcers."

Paul, Those two sentences are ignorant bullsh*t and show how little you know about bond investing. And "No", I'm not being nice about this, because of the harm your "advice" is likely to cause.

#1, 'agency-assigned' credit-ratings need to be distinguished from 'market-implied' credit-ratings. The former are easily discovered, but not always trustworthy, as the movie The Big Short makes obvious. Inferring the latter requires experience, but isn't hard to do. The trick is to know when which should be trusted. I.e., have the agencies rated the debt correctly? Is the market pricing the debt correctly? That used to be fairly easy to determine. Nowadays, with the Fed all but having totally destroyed price discovery, proper credit analysis has become fairly meaningless.

#2, triple BBB debt is a dangerous "investment", especially stuff rated Baa3/BBB-, and is almost never priced to reflect its true risks, whereas any solid Ba/BB used to be worth buying. That's no longer the case, chiefly due to ZIRP.
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