Economics and The Time Value of Money - Yield Curve

Yield Curves
A yield curve is simply a graph that plots bond yields against their length of time to maturity. The curve will show whether short-term interest rates are higher or lower than long-term rates.

  • Normal Yield Curve
    • Most of the time, the yield curve will be positively sloped, which means lower interest rates are correlated with shorter maturities.
    • As maturity lengthens, interest rates increase.
    • For instance, if two-year Treasury notes yield 3%, five-year Treasury notes yield 4% and 10-year Treasury bonds yield 5.5%, then the yield curve will be sloped positively. This would be a normal yield curve.
    • The following diagram is of a normal yield curve, exhibiting a positive slope:

Figure 9.1: Normal Yield Curve

  • Inverted (or Negative) Yield Curve
    • Occurs when there is weak demand for bonds with short maturities, which drives yields up. A strong demand for long-term bonds drives these yields down.
    • An inverted yield curve means short-term interest rates are higher than long-term rates. This is an unusual situation, but it does happen.
    • An inverted yield curve may be an indication of economic decline.
    • For instance, an inverted yield curve would result if the two-year Treasury note yielded 3%, the five-year Treasury note 2.75% and the 10-year Treasury bond 2.5%.
    • This would occur if rates were high but expected to fall.
    • Consider the following diagram for a visual interpretation of an inverted yield curve:

Figure 9.2: Inverted Yield Curve



  • Flat Yield Curve
    • Occurs where yields are the same for short, intermediate, and long-term bonds.
    • This type of curve is a rare occurrence.

The flat yield curve is essentially a "flat" line.
Time Value of Money: Present and Future Value
Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    Five Advantages of Futures Over Options

    Futures have a number of advantages over options such as fixed upfront trading costs, lack of time decay and liquidity.
  2. Products and Investments

    How to Create a New Financial Product in 10 Steps

    The 10 steps outlined here are essential to the creation of a new financial product.
  3. Professionals

    A Day In The Life Of A Public Accountant

    Here's an inside look at the workdays of two experienced CPAs, to give you an idea of what it might be like to pursue a career as a public accountant.
  4. Professionals

    A Day in the Life of a Public Accountant

    There’s no typical day in the life of a public accountant, but one accountant’s experience may shed some light on what the career entails.
  5. Saving and Spending

    A Key Tip for Making Your Nest Egg Last Longer

    Retirees who don't want to deplete their nest eggs during a bear market should make sure to do the following.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Fidelity Target Risk Funds Overview

    Get a brief overview of Fidelity's seven target risk funds, with a description of each fund's asset allocation and expense ratio.
  7. Investing News

    Is it the Right Time to Raise Interest Rates?

    Warning signs have started to emerge that point to a potentially dismal 2016 for the U.S. economy.
  8. Markets

    Four Big Risks of Algorithmic High-Frequency Trading

    Algorithmic HFT has a number of risks, and it also can amplify systemic risk because of its propensity to intensify market volatility.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 3 Invesco Funds for Retirement Diversification in 2016

    Explore analyses of the top three Invesco mutual funds for retirement diversification in 2016, and learn about the characteristics of these target-date funds.
  10. Investing Basics

    Hedging Risk for Beginners: How and When to Do It

    Hedging risk is always a good idea. Here is how sophisticated investors go about it.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Sortino Ratio

    A modification of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful ...
  2. Equity Risk Premium

    The excess return that investing in the stock market provides ...
  3. Net Line

    The amount of risk that an insurance company retains after subtracting ...
  4. Political Risk Insurance

    Coverage that provides financial protection to investors, financial ...
  5. Maximum Drawdown (MDD)

    The maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before ...
  6. Gross Exposure

    The absolute level of a fund's investments.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What's the difference between a stop and a limit order?

    Different types of orders allow you to be more specific about how you'd like your broker to fulfill your trades. When you ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are secured personal loans better than unsecured loans?

    Secured loans are better for the borrower than unsecured loans because the loan terms are more agreeable. Often, the interest ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why are mutual funds subject to market risk?

    Like all securities, mutual funds are subject to market, or systematic, risk. This is because there is no way to predict ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why have mutual funds become so popular?

    Mutual funds have become an incredibly popular option for a wide variety of investors. This is primarily due to the automatic ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can your car insurance company check your driving record?

    While your auto insurance company cannot pull your full motor vehicle report, or MVR, it does pull a record summary that ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  6. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
Trading Center