Smart Bond Investing—Yield and Return
Yield and Return
Yield is a general term that relates to the return on the capital you invest in the bond.
Smart Move When someone tells you a bond's yield is 7 percent, ask: "What definition of yield are you using?"
There are several definitions that are important to understand: coupon yield, current yield, yield-to-maturity, yield-to-call and yield-to-worst.
Let's start with the basic yield concepts.
- Coupon yield is the annual interest rate established when the bond is issued. It's the same as the coupon rate and is the amount of income you collect on a bond, expressed as a percentage of your original investment. If you buy a bond for $1,000 and receive $45 in annual interest payments, your coupon yield is 4.5 percent. This amount is figured as a percentage of the bond's par value and will not change during the lifespan of the bond.
- Current yield is the bond's coupon yield divided by its market price. Here's the math on a bond with a coupon yield of 4.5 percent trading at 103 ($1,030).
Say you check the bond's price later, and it's trading at 101 ($1,010). The current yield has changed:
If you buy a new bond at par and hold it to maturity, your current yield when the bond matures will be the same as the coupon yield.