Radical Guide to Online Bond Investing: Introduction to Trade Reports

Trade reports matter and should be viewed by you as another trading tool.  The reports primarily cover municipal and corporate bond trades.  Both are available at the “Investing in Bonds” website sponsored by the Bond Market Association.

As an aside, other bond types like Treasuries and U.S. agency bonds have active two-way markets, eliminating the need for trade reporting.  You can see their indicative price levels, provided by GovPX and Merrill, on the “Investing in Bonds” website.  Another source for indications is the Yahoo! Bond Screener, which is sponsored by ValuBond.

Wish such active bond markets were available for all bond products!  But they aren’t. 

When you saunter into municipal or corporate bond territory, the markets become sketchier.  The dealer offers and bids become fewer in number.  Fill times stretch out as dealers hunt for hard-to-find bond product.

Whenever possible, please check the public trade records for where your municipal or corporate bond last traded.  Knowing this information makes you flat-out smart.  It adds to your credibility.

With the last trade price in hand, and supposing it is not too outdated, then that trade report allows you to:

  • Value your bond;
  • Check your broker’s offer or bid for a bond;
  • Benchmark how the bond’s price fits within its sector;
  • See how your bond has traded vs. the market; and
  • See if there have been any large volume swings (maybe explained by a credit event).

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June 3, 2005 | Permalink

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