By standardizing the yield, investors can easily assess which bonds offer better returns and make appropriate investment decisions. The bond equivalent yield formula, also known as the BEY formula, is one of the many ways to analyze the return on a bond investments. To be more specific, the BEY compares the principal payment to the bond price. Thus, it tells you how much return you can get through receiving the principal after purchasing the bond. Nevertheless, you can see that the quick equal-payment method gets you fairly close to the real answer.

- To calculate the semi-annual bond payment, take 2% of the par value of $1,000, or $20, and divide it by two.
- BEYs reported by the Federal Reserve and financial market institutions should not be used as a comparison to the yields on longer-maturity bonds.
- Investors can find a more precise annual yield once they know the BEY for a bond if they account for the time value of money in the calculation.
- BEY allows investors to directly compare the annualized yields of bonds with different maturities.
- Coupon rates are quoted in terms of annual interest payments, so you’ll need to divide the rate by two in order to figure out the semi-annual payment.
- Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader.

Most commonly, bonds having longer maturity dates have higher interest rates to compensate investors for the longer lockup period. This difference is most often expressed in basis points (bps) or percentage points. BEYs reported by the Federal Reserve and financial market institutions should not be used as a comparison to the yields on longer-maturity bonds. They serve a different purpose—namely, to facilitate comparison of yields on T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds maturing on the same date. BEYs are systematically less than the annualized yields for semi-annual compounding. In general, for the same current and future cash flows, more frequent compounding at a lower rate corresponds to less frequent compounding at a higher rate.

In this instance, the bond becomes less desirable and thus, trades at a discount. Bond yield is the amount of return an investor will realize on a bond. The coupon rate and current yield are basic yield concepts and calculations. A bond rating is a grade given to a bond and indicates its credit quality and often the level of risk to the investor in purchasing the bond. Bond yields are quoted as a https://1investing.in/, which adjusts for the bond coupon paid in two semi-annual payments.

## What is your risk tolerance?

YTM estimates typically assume that all coupon payments are reinvested (not distributed) within the bond. This figure is used to compare different bonds an investor is trying to choose between, and is one of the key figures compared between bonds. This is due to the fact it includes more variable than other comparable figures. If an investor wanted to buy this discounted bond as-is, 3.07% would be the annualized figure used to compare it to other long-term fixed-income securities that offer standard coupon payments. This can determine whether an investment is worth it, or if the investor would be better off parking their money in a different bond. Put simply, a bond yield is the return on the capital invested by an investor.

If an investor wants to sell this bond before it matures, it would be competing with new bonds that pay $75 annually rather than $50. To attract buyers, the investor must lower the price to a point where the coupon payments plus the maturity value will be equal to the 7.5% yield. It’s important to understand that a bond’s coupon rate and bond yield are not the same, and are almost always different %’s. The coupon rate is based on the issue price, and the bond yield is how much those coupon payments represent in % based on the current market price. The bond yield will differ from the coupon rate if the price of a bond is anywhere above or anywhere below face value. Bond Equivalent Yield (BEY) is an important measure for investors who are looking to compare the yields of different bonds.

If interest rates fall, the bond’s price would rise because its coupon payment is more attractive. In either scenario, the coupon rate no longer has any meaning for a new investor. But if the annual coupon payment is divided by the bond’s price, the investor can calculate the current yield and get an estimate of the bond’s true yield.

## Interpreting the Bond Equivalent Yield

The second portion of the formula annualizes 11% by multiplying it by 365 divided by the number of days until the bond matures, which is half of 365. The bond equivalent yield is thus 11% multiplied by two, which comes out to 22%. There are baked-in problems with rates quoted on a discount basis.

## What is a bond?

For example, a bond with a par value of $1,000 might trade at a discount for $990. This usually happens when the prevailing interest rate rises above the bond’s coupon rate. For example, if market interest rates hit 6% and the bond’s coupon is 4%.

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This is a fairly simple measurement that tells investors what they can expect for a return in the current market. When used to describe a portfolio, a running yield refers to the cumulative return or yield of all investments currently held within that portfolio. This may be somewhat similar to a dividend yield, but instead of describing individual assets, it describes the entire group represented within the portfolio as a whole. Typically, running yields are figured annually, but many investors calculate it more often than this. All investors need is the par value of the bond and the purchase price, and the number of days to maturity.

A new bond buyer will be paid the full coupon, so the bond’s price will be inflated slightly to compensate the seller for the four months in the current coupon period that have elapsed. The exponent in the yield calculations can be turned into a decimal to adjust for the partial year. The face value (also known as the par value) of the bond is essentially the price that will be paid to the investor on the maturity of the bond.

Also note that, if the bond is coupon-paying, the par value will be the basis for calculating the coupon payments. However, BEY has limitations, including the assumption of reinvestment at the same rate, inapplicability to bonds with variable coupon rates, and the inability to capture potential capital gains or losses. BEY may not be applicable to bonds with variable coupon rates, as these rates change over time based on a reference rate, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Factors such as economic growth, inflation, and geopolitical events can influence investor sentiment and, in turn, affect bond prices and yields. As a result, the BEY of bonds may change in response to evolving market conditions. We then divide $100 by $900 to obtain the return on investment, which is 11%.

Companies looking to raise capital may either issue stocks (equities) or bonds (fixed income). Equities, which are distributed to investors in the form of common shares, have the potential to earn higher bond equivalent yield returns than bonds, but they also carry greater risk. Specifically, if a company files for bankruptcy and subsequently liquidates its assets, its bondholders are first in line to collect any cash.

A bond rating is a grade given to a bond and indicates its credit quality. The rating takes into consideration a bond issuer’s financial strength or its ability to pay a bond’s principal and interest in a timely fashion. There are three bond rating agencies in the United States that account for approximately 95% of all bond ratings and include Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service. The BEY allowed the total annual yield to be calculated and the two bonds to be better compared. Therefore, APYs using a 365-day year can be directly compared to yields based on SABB.

If an investor knows that the semi-annual YTM was 5.979%, they could use the previous formula to find the EAY of 12.32%. Because the extra compounding period is included, the EAY will be higher than the BEY. For short-dated T-bills, the implicit compounding period for the BEY is the number of days between settlement and maturity. But the BEY for a long-dated T-bill does not have any well-defined compounding assumption, which makes its interpretation difficult. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is a financial services company dedicated to making the world smarter, happier, and richer. The Motley Fool reaches millions of people every month through our premium investing solutions, free guidance and market analysis on Fool.com, top-rated podcasts, and non-profit The Motley Fool Foundation. Yield to worst is the worst-case potential return of a bond, especially for a callable bond, and it is whichever is lower between YTM or YTC. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader.