Online help for novice bond investors

A Financial Q&A with Steve Dinnen.

Q: I have had trouble finding a user-friendly bond site. I seem to keep getting sites where there are runs of transactions bought and sold in the past 12 hours. But I can’t find a site where I could peruse bonds, check out maturities, yield, etc. I would really appreciate it if you can direct a novice user

M.C., Center Sandwich, N.H.

A: The bond market, vastly larger than the stock market, can indeed be a daunting place in which to navigate. There are several for-pay sites, which can be quite expensive and are aimed mainly at professional traders. Your brokerage house also should have web-based information on bonds that’s available to clients.

For occasional investors, Travis Larson recommends This is an educational web site designed by the industry and sponsored by the organization for which he is a spokesman, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (formed after a merger that included the Bond Market Association).

Mr. Larson says the site is appropriate for individuals with all levels of financial education, from beginners to experienced investors. It offers bond price information and includes a wide variety of market data, news, commentary, and education about bonds.

You can dive fairly deep into information on corporate, municipal, and government bonds.
This has been ranked as a top investor site for bonds by a number of media outlets, and he says it’s “continually enhanced and updated with new data, information, and features.”
Bonds are a fast-moving target. Here’s an area where it pays to check with your financial adviser, who typically will have access to proprietary research and trading programs.

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