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Finance Glossary

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At Par


If a bond (or other debt or preferred stock) is trading at par or at 100, it's trading at face value, and investors buying the bond expect getting a return that matches the bond's coupon.

Finding a bond trading at par, by the way, is only a little easier than finding someone who doesn't have the hots for Indiana Jones. Most bonds trade either above or below par.

  • When interest rates drop, investors are willing to pay more for older bonds with higher coupons, and bonds will trade above par.
  • When interest rates increase, those lower interest rates look about as appealing as mold on a sandwich, and bonds will trade below par (for less than face value).

Interest rates aren't the only things that can affect a bond's ability to trade at par, BTW. Company news can affect it, too. If an alien spaceship attacks your factories and kidnaps your staff, your bond value may decrease, too.


Let's say a bond yields 7%, meaning that for each $1,000, you get 35 bucks paid to you twice a year. This bond was issued 8 years ago, and now similar-risk bonds have gone way up in price (and yields have gone way down).

So this bond might be quoted at "110," meaning that you pay $1,100 for that same sheet of paper today so that your yield is not 7% but rather 10% less than 7% (because you've paid 10% more for the bond). That new yield is 6.3%. You paid 10 points over par for the same $35 twice a year you're getting.