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Parker Garcia
Parker Garcia

Buying Bonds At A Discount

A discount bond is a bond that is issued at a lower price than its par value or a bond that is trading in the secondary market at a price that is below the par value. It is similar to a zero-coupon bond, only that the latter does not pay interest until maturity. A bond is considered to trade at a discount when its coupon rate is lower than the prevailing interest rates.

buying bonds at a discount

When an investor purchases a bond, he/she expects to be paid interest by the bond issuer. However, the value of the bond is likely to increase or decrease with changes in the market interest rates. If interest rates go up, it results in a decline in the value of the bond. The bond must, therefore, sell at a discount. Hence the name, discount bond. The discount takes into account the risk of the bond and the creditworthiness of the bond issuer.

A discount bond is offered at a lower price than the prevailing market rate. Buying the bond at a discount means that investors pay a price lower than the face value of the bond. However, it does not necessarily mean it offers better returns than other bonds.

Let take an example of a bond with a $1,000 face value. If the bond is offered at $970, it is considered to be offered at a discount. If the bond is offered at $1,030, it is considered to be offered at a premium. Bonds trade in the secondary market and their prices change with changes in market conditions. However, the par value will still be repaid to investors when the bond reaches maturity.

When a new bond is issued, it comes with a stated coupon that shows the amount of interest bondholders will earn. For example, a bond with a par value of $1,000 and a coupon rate of 3% will pay annual interest of $30. If the prevailing interest rates drop to 2%, the bond value will rise, and the bond will trade at a premium. If interest rates rise to 4%, the value of the bond will drop, and the bond will trade at a discount.

Discount bonds may come with a higher risk of default depending on the financial status of the issuer. A company may opt to issue bonds after exhausting all other means of raising capital. A bond rating agency may also lower the rating of the issuer if it is convinced that the probability of the company defaulting on its current obligations has increased.

For Notes, Bonds, Bills, and FRNs, you may use reinvestments to continue to hold Treasury marketable securities. In a reinvestment, you are buying the same type of security with the funds from a maturing one. For example, you can use the money from a maturing 52-week bill to buy another 52-week bill.

The interesting aspect of TIPS, that differs from bonds and notes, is that the principal goes up and down with inflation and deflation. While the interest rate is fixed, the amount of interest you get every six months may vary due to any change in the principal.

Also, keep in mind that your potential for returns from premium bonds can change if they become callable. This means that the issuer can choose to allow the bond to be redeemed before the maturity date. Premium bonds may become callable if interest rates rise because it may not make sense financially for the issuer to continue paying investors above-market rates.

The biggest difference between premium and discount bonds centers on their trading price, relative to their par value. Premium bonds trade above par value while discount bonds trade below it. Discount bonds can be riskier but the lower the price, the higher the potential for gains. Premium bonds can deliver higher returns with less risk, but they can be problematic if they become callable.

Despite having similar management and investment strategies, PDO trades at a 5.8% discount to net asset value (NAV, or the value of the bonds it owns), while PHK trades for more than its portfolio is worth. This means that, to fund its 11.5% dividend (based on its premium market price), PHK needs to earn nearly a 12% total return on its portfolio, which is impossible over the long term, but something PHK has been able to do in the past over shorter periods of time (more on this shortly).

Newly issued Treasuries can be purchased at auctions held by the government, while previously issued bonds can be purchased on the secondary market. Both types of orders can be placed through Fidelity.*

Investors in Treasury notes (which have shorter-term maturities, from 1 to 10 years) and Treasury bonds (which have maturities of up to 30 years) receive interest payments, known as coupons, on their investment. The coupon rate is fixed at the time of issuance and is paid every six months.

Other Treasury securities, such as Treasury bills (which have maturities of one year or less) or zero-coupon bonds, do not pay a regular coupon. Instead, they are sold at a discount to their face (or par) value; investors receive the full face value at maturity. These securities are known as Original Issue Discount (OID) bonds, since the difference between the discounted price at issuance and the face value at maturity represents the total interest paid in one lump sum.

Tax advantagesInterest income from Treasury bonds is exempt from state and local income taxes, but is subject to federal income taxes. Other components of your return, however, may be taxable when the bonds are sold or mature. If you buy a bond for less than face value on the secondary market (known as a market discount) and you either hold it until maturity or sell it at a profit, that gain will be subject to federal and state taxes. Buying a bond at market discount is different than buying a bond at Original Issue Discount (OID). When a bond has OID, the OID is treated as interest income. When a bond is purchased at market discount and held until maturity, the market discount is treated as interest income. When a bond is bought at market discount and sold before maturity, it may be subject to both interest income as well as capital gain or capital loss.

LiquidityLarge volumes of Treasuries are bought and sold throughout the day by a wide range of institutions, foreign governments, and individual investors so they are considered to be highly liquid. Investors considering Treasury securities have opportunities to buy bonds both at regularly scheduled auctions (see Auction Schedule) and in the secondary market, which is one of the world's most actively traded markets. Investors can find Treasury bills, notes, and bonds posted with active bids and offers. Spreads (the difference in price between the bid and offer) are among the most narrow available in the bond market. Investors should, however, be aware that at certain times, such as when important economic data is released, Treasury securities can be at their most volatile.

Credit or default riskInvestors need to be aware that all bonds have the risk of default. Investors should monitor current events, as well as the ratio of national debt to gross domestic product, Treasury yields, credit ratings, and the weaknesses of the dollar for signs that default risk may be rising.

the amount below the stated 'face' or par value when a fixed-income security (e.g. a bond) is bought or sold; for example, if a bond's face value is $1,000 and it sells for $900, it was sold at a discount

the date on which the principal amount of a fixed income security is scheduled to become due and payable, typically along with any final coupon payment. It is also a list of the maturity dates on which individual bonds issued as part of a new issue municipal bond offering will mature

a bond where no periodic interest payments are made; the investor purchases the bond at a discounted price and receives one payment at maturity that usually includes interest; they have higher price volatility than coupon bonds as a result of interest rate changes

To determine the amount of discount accrued ratably, the total amount of discount is multiplied by a fraction: the number of days the taxpayer has held the debt instrument at the time of disposition divided by the number of days after the date of acquisition to and including the maturity date. This is illustrated in the following example.

The White & Case Capital Markets team updates its March 2018 publication on bond repurchases given the current environment where issuers may consider whether, if their bonds are trading at a discount to par, they should repurchase their bonds. The following guide highlights the key points to consider when planning an open market bond repurchase transaction.

A bond repurchase, or bond buyback, refers to the process whereby the issuer approaches the open market and repurchases its bonds from holders. If the bonds are trading at less than their par value, issuers can use this tool opportunistically to acquire debt, which will both reduce overall interest expense and result in a P&L debt on any gain if the bonds are cancelled. Although there are other liability management processes issuers can use to reduce their outstanding indebtedness (for example, a tender offer), repurchases are advantageous for issuers that wish to capitalise relatively quickly on a depressed market price for their bonds. One benefit of bond repurchases is that they do not require legally mandated time periods (for example, tender offers for bonds in the US are, with limited exceptions, required to remain open for 20 business days) or offering documentation.

We note that the following "creeping tender" analysis is primarily relevant only in situations where bonds were initially sold into the US pursuant to Rule 144A or other exemptions. However, even where bonds were initially sold outside the US in reliance on Regulation S, there is a possibility that bonds may have subsequently flowed in to the US in secondary market sales, and so this analysis is also potentially relevant to bonds initially sold only outside the US.

If bonds are listed on an exchange in the EU, then in most cases you will be subject to the Market Abuse Regulation ("MAR") when it comes to your bonds. The general rule is that issuers must inform the public as soon as possible of inside information, which directly concerns the issuer or its securities. In this regard, any buyback of outstanding bonds that, if made public, would have a significant effect on the price of such bonds, or on the price of related derivative financial instruments, would constitute inside information. This may arise either where knowledge of the proposed buyback program itself will constitute inside information, or where the transactions themselves will likely give rise to inside information, such as a reduction of liquidity in the bonds. Your investment bank should be consulted to ensure that the amount of the outstanding issue that you propose to repurchase would not be considered price-sensitive. You will also need to be comfortable that the buyback is not price-sensitive for other reasons, such as reducing the overall cash position of the issuer as a result of the buyback. 041b061a72




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