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A big difference between plain vanilla bonds and dividend paying stocks is that the bonds have a maximum value while the stocks do not. The maximum value of a bond is its price at zero yield. You get that price by just adding up all the remaining coupon payments plus the principle. Only a fool would pay more than the zero yield price for a bond. If you pay more, then the yield is negative.
If you divide the current price of a bond by its maximum price, you get something like an average discount factor for all of the remaining cash flows. From this you can get a first crude estimate of the yield to maturity. But you can also use the ratio by itself as a way to benchmark bonds. The closer the ratio is to 1, the more expensive the bond.
© 2010-2012 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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