Investors will be pleased to know that there are literally hundreds of potentially profitable investment solutions to choose from. One of the more renowned alternatives is the bond market and has of 2006 the size of this financial market is estimated to be worth nearly $45 in average daily trading volume.

All this information is great, but what exactly is a bond market? A bond market is a financial market where debt securities are traded. These debt securities are called bonds and they are nothing more than a loan in which the issuer is the borrower and the investor or bond holder, the lender. When a corporation issues a bond it is basically asking for a loan from prospective investors wanting to make money from the interest or coupon as it is generally referred to. A word of caution, currently there are many different types of bonds to choose from so before investing it might be a good idea for buyers to understand exactly what is being purchased by making inquiries whether the bonds acquired offer the benefits desired.

Investors can buy bonds through various institutions like banks, pension funds and insurance companies, although individuals can also purchase bonds directly without relying on third-party services. Bonds can be a great way to diversify a portfolio and in times of stock market unrest, there is nothing better than shifting some investments into this financial market. In many ways, bonds are seen has safer investments especially when compared to stocks, but just like in any financial market, this rule is not always pertinent. One of the most notable advantages presented to bondholders, is that in the eventually of the company filling bankruptcy, they are still entitled to some process from the liquidation of assets ahead of a number of other creditors. Contrary to stocks, bonds perform better or offer better payouts when an investor holds the bond to maturity, at which time he will collect the capital invested plus the coupon. Buying and selling bonds before maturity is extremely risky especially due to changes in interest rates which could cause a bond to devaluate considerably.

First time investors should either look into buying bonds through pension funds or banks since they offer the most secure alternatives while also providing a decent return. To keep up with indices in United States bondholders can consult the Lehman Aggregate, Citigroup BIG or Merrill Lynch Domestic Master.

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