Bond Rating

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Bond Rating'

A grade given to bonds that indicates their credit quality. Private independent rating services such as Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch provide these evaluations of a bond issuer's financial strength, or its the ability to pay a bond's principal and interest in a timely fashion.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Bond Rating'

Bond ratings are expressed as letters ranging from 'AAA', which is the highest grade, to 'C' ("junk"), which is the lowest grade. Different rating services use the same letter grades, but use various combinations of upper- and lower-case letters to differentiate themselves.

To illustrate the bond ratings and their meaning, we'll use the Standard & Poor's format:

AAA and AA:High credit-quality investment grade
AA and BBB:Medium credit-quality investment grade
BB, B, CCC, CC, C: Low credit-quality (non-investment grade), or "junk bonds"
D: Bonds in default for non-payment of principal and/or interest

RELATED TERMS
  1. Negative Watch

    A status that the credit-rating agencies (Standard and Poor's, ...
  2. Nationally Recognized Statistical ...

    The formal term to describe credit rating agencies that provide ...
  3. AAA

    The highest possible rating assigned to the bonds of an issuer ...
  4. Junk Bond

    A colloquial term for a high-yield or non-investment grade bond. ...
  5. Investment Grade

    A rating that indicates that a municipal or corporate bond has ...
  6. Default Risk

    The event in which companies or individuals will be unable to ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does face value differ from the price of a bond?

    Face value, or par value, is equal to a bond's price when it is first issued, but thereafter, the price of the bond fluctuates ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What determines the price of a bond in the open market?

    One of the most basic concepts that investors should become familiar with is how bonds are priced. Bonds do not trade like ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between a gilt edged bond and a regular bond?

    A gilt edged bond is a high-grade bond issue. The term "gilt" is of British origin and originally referred to debt securities ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are high-yield bonds better investments than low-yield bonds?

    Most bonds typically make periodic payments, known as coupon payments, to the bondholder. A bond's indenture, which will ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What type of asset allocation should I use if I am already retired?

    Among investors, asset allocation is a topic of discussion that receives a great deal of weight during the asset accumulation ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much risk is associated with subprime mortgages?

    A large amount of risk is associated with subprime mortgages. Since the mortgages are specifically for people who do not ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Six Biggest Bond Risks

    Don't assume that you can't lose money in this market - you can. Find out how.
  2. Investing Basics

    What Is A Corporate Credit Rating?

    Is the bond you're buying investment grade, or just junk? Find out how to check the score.
  3. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Junk Bonds: Everything You Need To Know

    Don't be fooled by the name - junk bonds may be for you if you know how to analyze them.
  4. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Corporate Bonds: An Introduction To Credit Risk

    Corporate bonds offer higher yields, but it's important to evaluate the extra risk involved before you buy.
  5. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Why Bad Bonds Get Good Ratings

    Credit ratings are not the only tool to rely on when assessing bonds. Find out why they sometimes fall short.
  6. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Advanced Bond Concepts

    Learn the complex concepts and calculations for trading bonds including bond pricing, yield, term structure of interest rates and duration.
  7. Professionals

    Why Investors Are Bailing on Bond ETFs

    Investors are fleeing bond ETFs. Should you follow the herd? Hint: It depends on the type of bond.
  8. Professionals

    Is a Bond Market Selloff Coming?

    A big investment management company is concerned about bond market conditions and allocating more capital to cash. Should you follow?
  9. Credit & Loans

    What is a Syndicated Loan?

    A syndicated loan is one that involves a group of lenders (called the syndicate) who pool their lending resources to make a loan.
  10. Credit & Loans

    Explaining Credit Ratings

    A credit rating is a third-party assessment about the creditworthiness of an individual or entity.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
  2. European Central Bank - ECB

    The central bank responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. The bank was formed ...
  3. Quantitative Easing

    An unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases private sector financial assets in order to lower interest ...
  4. Current Account Deficit

    A measurement of a country’s trade in which the value of goods and services it imports exceeds the value of goods and services ...
  5. International Monetary Fund - IMF

    An international organization created for the purpose of: 1. Promoting global monetary and exchange stability. 2. Facilitating ...
  6. Risk-Return Tradeoff

    The principle that potential return rises with an increase in risk. Low levels of uncertainty (low-risk) are associated with ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!