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Debt Primer & Tools


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What is the best way to find a snapshot about company's debt.  Is it selling for par?  Is it investment-grade?  What are the terms? 

 

What are the best (inexpensive) subscription tools to research debt?   

 

Is it easy for an individual investor to buy corporate debt?  Distressed debt?

 

Any books/primers that are a must read?

 

 

 

 

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Here are a couple free things that might help get started at least with the bond portion:

  • To see debt ratings and such sign up for for a free account at https://www.moodys.com/ 
  • To see the overall bond picture of a company, "Bonds" tab for the particular company on http://morningstar.com/ (Just be aware there are 2 "Bonds" tabs.  The one at the top of the page is just general bond info, the other one is on the row of tabs for the particular company.) 

 

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What is the best way to find a snapshot about company's debt.  Is it selling for par?  Is it investment-grade?  What are the terms? 

 

What are the best (inexpensive) subscription tools to research debt?   

 

Is it easy for an individual investor to buy corporate debt?  Distressed debt?

 

Any books/primers that are a must read?

 

It depends. Individual investors can more-or-less buy distressed bonds, but essentially have no access to bank loans like institutional investors do.

 

In practice that more often means that you'd probably be playing a bit on the riskier side of things, both because bank loans are usually senior to bonds contractually and in the sense that bank debt will pretty often be at the operating company level, whereas the bonds available to individual investors could be at the holding company level. So you'll often find yourself on the wrong side of structural subordination as well.

 

It's definitely doable but you won't have access to a big part of the market... the part that is usually less risky.

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