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Understanding Bonds

Now for something completely different. People -- laymen, that is, not Bay Street's priests of Mammon, but regular folks -- often tell me that they don't really understand the bond market. That's okay, I usually reply, neither does anyone else, least of all me.

But now, help is finally at hand. Veteran bond trader W. H. (Hank) Cunningham, the king of retail bonds, has written a book, called, appropriately enough, In Your Best Interest: The Ultimate Guide to the Canadian Bond Market. It's published by Dundurn Press, and available in bookstores everywhere.

It's a tour of the bond universe, aimed at the individual investor. Hank, who has been in the bond business pretty much since the Pleistocene age, explains everything from how to strip a bond to how the yield curve works, from duration to laddering, from asset-backed securities to distressed debt.

It's a handy tool for anyone looking to invest in fixed-income securities, and sheds light on what, for most people, is a particularly opaque part of the investment world.

Harry Koza is senior Canadian markets analyst at Thomson Financial and a columnist for GlobeinvestorGOLD.com.



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