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Portfolio > Mutual Funds > Bond Funds

Part 3: Bonds in Your Sites

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Most general-purpose financial news sites give short shrift to the bond market. Sure, you can find the latest Treasury market yield curve (rates graphed for different maturities), but beyond that it’s generally stocks, stocks, economic indicators, and then more stocks.

Since the bond market has many types of securities, and many times more individual securities available than the stock market (there are 50,000 municipal issuers alone), it behooves those considering individual debt securities to educate themselves on their options. Thankfully, there are a number of Web sites of primary interest to bond investors and advisors interested in the bond market. is run by The Bond Market Association, with basic educational information such as: taxable equivalents; an excellent glossary with 400 bond-related terms; guides to various types of bonds (munis, corporates, mortgages, CMOs, etc.); and links to numerous pricing sites, as well as Spanish language info., the main site for The Bond Market Association, has more in the way of pricing, current news and regulatory issues, and also links to research reports (for a more sophisticated audience than, with news particularly heavy on bond issuance. has a well-laid-out site with links to all kinds of bond information, questions answered, news, and commentary (albeit a lot of their most interesting and centrally located story links are for paid newsletters). is a discount brokerage that, naturally, specializes in buying and selling municipal bonds. The site directs you to available bonds in your state, matching maturity and quality requests. styles itself “the Web’s biggest credit risk modeling resource.” For budding bond geeks, here’s a source for the most in-depth articles on risk management. If you suffer from any form of math anxiety, leave this one well alone. If, on the other hand, analyzing Merton’s 1974 Model of Default (built on a geometric Brownian motion) suits your fancy, this site’s for you.

Of course, don’t forget sites we’ve mentioned in the past for a top-down view of the bond markets: and They’re essential tools when you have bonds in your sights.

Finally, bond ratings firm Moody’s offers, which has some free info that should be of interest to any bond investor, but there’s enough there that’s only for paying customers to tease many into becoming one. From the main page you can see the latest credit highlights and search for rating actions and opinions by issuer (corporate or municipal). The full-text results of such searches are free for seven days after publication, available to subscribers only afterward. Of course, if a broker is already offering to sell you a specific bond, he can show you the credit ratings reports. Links to reports on defaults and default rates are available online at


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