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About Municipal Bonds

Understanding Yields

Basically, there are two types of bond yields: current yield and yield to maturity. Current yield is the annual return on the dollar amount paid for a bond. Yield to maturity is the rate of return you receive by holding a bond until it matures. It equals the interest you receive from the time you purchase the bond until maturity, plus any gain or loss depending on whether the bond's value has increased or decreased.

Tax-exempt yields are usually stated in terms of yield to maturity, with yield expressed at an annual rate. If you purchase a bond with a 6.0% coupon at par, its yield to maturity is 6.0%. If you pay more than par, the yield to maturity will be lower than the coupon rate. If purchased below par, the bond will have a yield to maturity higher than the coupon rate.

When the price of a tax-exempt bond increases above its par value, it is said to be selling at a premium. When the security sells below par value, it is said to be selling at a discount.


All information and opinions contained in this publication were produced by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association from our membership and other sources believed by the Association to be accurate and reliable. By providing this general information, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association makes neither a recommendation as to the appropriateness of investing in fixed-income securities nor is it providing any specific investment advice for any particular investor. Due to rapidly changing market conditions and the complexity of investment decisions, supplemental information and sources may be required to make informed investment decisions.