Debt Security

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DEFINITION of 'Debt Security'

Any debt instrument that can be bought or sold between two parties and has basic terms defined, such as notional amount (amount borrowed), interest rate and maturity/renewal date. Debt securities include government bonds, corporate bonds, CDs, municipal bonds, preferred stock, collateralized securities (such as CDOs, CMOs, GNMAs) and zero-coupon securities.

The interest rate on a debt security is largely determined by the perceived repayment ability of the borrower; higher risks of payment default almost always lead to higher interest rates to borrow capital.

Also known as "fixed-income securities."

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BREAKING DOWN 'Debt Security'

Most debt securities are traded over-the-counter, with much of the trading now conducted electronically. The total dollar value of trades conducted daily in the debt markets is much larger than that of stocks, as debt securities are held by many large institutional investors as well as governments and non-profit organizations.

Debt securities on the whole are safer investments than equity securities, but riskier than cash. Debt securities get their measure of safety by having a principal amount that is returned to the lender at the maturity date or upon the sale of the security. They are typically classified and grouped by their level of default risk, the type of issuer and income payment cycles.

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RELATED FAQS
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    The basic differences between the debt and equity markets include the type of financial interest they represent, the way ... Read Full Answer >>
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    The major differences between equity and fixed income markets are the way they make profits for investors, the manner in ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I evaluate a debt security?

    Debt securities are a form of loan from an investor to the government or a business. Among the many different types of debt ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What forms of debt security are available for the average investor?

    Common types of debt securities available to the average investor include U.S. Treasury securities, corporate bonds and municipal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What kinds of financial instruments are designated as “Securities” by Cabinet Order?

    In Japan, securities are regulated by the Diet and the Financial Services Agency, or FSA. Rulings about securities come down ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some of the arguments in favor of debt securitization?

    Debt securitization, or instrument securitization as a whole, received a bad reputation following the financial crisis of ... Read Full Answer >>
  7. What is face value and how is it determined?

    Face value is defined as "the nominal value or dollar value of a security stated by the issuer." It is determined by the ... Read Full Answer >>

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