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Bond Market Index

Updated on April 1, 2024
Article byPrakhar Gajendrakar
Edited byPrakhar Gajendrakar
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is The Bond Market Index?

A Bond Market Index is a group of selected bonds used to gauge a particular section of the bond market. It is a pool of investments monitored by a fund manager who makes all the decisions. It comprises the selected bond prices, which are typically harder to value.

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Source: Bond Market Index (wallstreetmojo.com)

Global investment firms and famous fund managers manage many bond market indexes. The index itself is treated like a benchmark to measure the performance of bond markets, individual securities and values of specific investments. A bond index can hold more individual securities compared to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Moreover, many different market factors affect it in the short and long term.

Key Takeaways

  • A bond market index is a pool of selected bonds that derives the measurement for any particular segment of the bond market.
  • There are many bond indexes in the financial market, and each is affected by different market factors like interest rates, inflation, political aspects, market sentiments, credit ratings, and so on.
  • Investors can invest in bond indexes with reduced risk exposure, but they are highly expensive and come with many charges, fees, and costs.
  • Bond markets are complex, but following an index can help investors track the market temperament and their portfolio’s performance.

Bond Market Index Explained

A bond market index is a pool of selected bonds and other debt securities that together form a market index to track the performance of any specific bond market segment. Investors widely use such indexes to compare, understand and treat as a benchmark to gauge the investment performance. By investing in a bond market index, investors reduce their risk exposure. There are several bond indexes constructed to measure the aggregate market and its different sectors like corporate, governmental or sovereign.

Many global bond market indexes represent and statistically measure different financial market sectors constructed by different nations. It is vital because today, with over 120 trillion dollars outstanding, the bond market has surpassed the equities market and is the largest financial market in the world. An index’s return is closely tracked and aligned with the market.

Some of the US bond market indexes have achieved close to zero tracking error. This simply means a very narrow divergence between a portfolio’s price behavior and the benchmark price behavior, ultimately minimizing the risk of any unexpected loss and maximizing better decision-making. On the other hand, there are some pitfalls and cons related to the total bond market index, as some indexes can never be an actual and accurate representation of the market since the index only follows a pool of selected bonds. Secondly, investing in such index is expensive, given its high transaction costs, management fees, and other charges.

Examples

Example #1

Suppose Kevin is a new investor who also works two jobs. He doesn’t have time to understand the pros and cons of the bond market. He often thinks about investing in bonds but is reluctant. Clearly, he doesn’t want to make a financial loss. After much research and thought, he finally decided that he could invest in a bond market index.

Since the bond market index is a selection of bonds, Kevin studies different indexes and finally, through proper analysis, chooses a high-yield bond market index that also includes all his favorite securities and invests his money in it. This way, Kevin saves his time and effort of constant monitoring and reduces his financial risk by diversifying his portfolio. It is a simple example, but in reality, many other factors are considered first.

Example #2

CME Group Inc. is all set to launch US corporate bond index futures in 2024. The company announced it with a press release. The new futures contract will rely on the Bloomberg US Corporate Index. The index gauges the performance of the Bloomberg US High Yield Very Liquid Index and investment-grade corporate bonds.

The CME Group’s Global Head of Rates and Over the Counter (OTC) products said that as corporate debt issuance keeps on increasing, people are interested in navigating their growing credit exposure. He believes that the firm’s new US corporate bond index futures will bring clarity and precision in managing the risk and exploring better opportunities in the bond market.

Importance

  • The bond market index helps in deriving the value of a particular segment.
  • It serves as a benchmark against which the value of investments can be measured.
  • Investors treat it as a barometer to gauge the bond market temperament.
  • Instead of tracking different bonds, the bond index makes complex monitoring easy.
  • It allows investors to explore and invest in multiple liquid bonds through one single instrument.
  • By investing in a bond market index, investors can diversify their investments and reduce their risk.

Bond Market Index vs Stock Market Index

The critical distinguishing factors between bond and stock market indexes are –

  • A bond index is made up of the prices of the selected bonds, but a stock market index is the weighted average of the selected stocks’ prices.
  • A bond index represents the market dynamics and temperament of the bond market, but the stock market index represents the ups and downs of the stock market.
  • A bond market index comprises debt securities issued by governments and companies. In contrast, the stock market index deals with publicly listed companies’ equities, shares, and stocks on the stock exchange.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does a bond market index lose money?

The interest rate fluctuations are the core reason through which investors lose money in the bond market index. However, there are always multiple factors affecting the bond index. At the same time, investors are often advised to remain patient for a potential recovery rather than exiting the market index.

How are bond market indexes weighted?

All bond market indexes are weighted based on their outstanding debt. Bond indexes are calculated from the change in interest rates, and market prices of the selected bonds over a specific time are considered.

What are the different types of bond market indexes?

Investors use different types of bond market indices to use, study, compare, analyze and understand the different segments of the bond market; some of the general types are – Global bond market index, Country-based bond index, Government bond indexes and Corporate bond index.

This article has been a guide to what is Bond Market Index. Here, we explain its examples, differences with the stock market index, and importance. You may also find some useful articles here –

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