Investment Grade

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Investment Grade'

A rating that indicates that a municipal or corporate bond has a relatively low risk of default. Bond rating firms, such as Standard & Poor's, use different designations consisting of upper- and lower-case letters 'A' and 'B' to identify a bond's credit quality rating. 'AAA' and 'AA' (high credit quality) and 'A' and 'BBB' (medium credit quality) are considered investment grade. Credit ratings for bonds below these designations ('BB', 'B', 'CCC', etc.) are considered low credit quality, and are commonly referred to as "junk bonds".

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Investment Grade'

Investors should note that government bonds, or Treasuries, are not subject to credit quality ratings. These securities are considered to be of the very highest credit quality. In the case of municipal and corporate bond funds, fund company literature, such as the fund prospectus and independent investment research reports will report an "average credit quality" for the fund's portfolio as a whole.

Investors should be aware that an agency downgrade of a company's bonds from 'BBB' to 'BB' reclassifies its debt from investment grade to "junk" status with just a one-step drop in quality. The repercussions of such an event can be highly problematic for the issuer and can also adversely affect bond prices for investors. Safety-conscious fund investors should pay attention to a bond fund's portfolio credit quality breakdown.

VIDEO

RELATED TERMS
  1. Bond Rating

    A grade given to bonds that indicates their credit quality. Private ...
  2. Junk Bond

    A colloquial term for a high-yield or non-investment grade bond. ...
  3. Balance Sheet

    A financial statement that summarizes a company's assets, liabilities ...
  4. Blue Chip

    A nationally recognized, well-established and financially sound ...
  5. Capitalization

    1. In accounting, it is where costs to acquire an asset are included ...
  6. Fundamental Analysis

    A method of evaluating a security that entails attempting to ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What does investment grade mean?

    Credit ratings provide a useful measure for comparing fixed-income securities, such as bonds, bills and notes. Most companies ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What does Investment Grade Mean?

    Investment grade is a term used to describe a favorable rating for corporate and municipal bonds.
  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Are High-Yield Bonds Too Risky?

    Despite their reputation, the debt securities known as "junk bonds" may actually reduce risk in your portfolio.
  3. Personal Finance

    The Debt Ratings Debate

    Lack of competition and potential conflicts of interest have called the value of these ratings into question.
  4. Markets

    Introduction To Fundamental Analysis

    Learn this easy-to-understand technique of analyzing a company's financial statements and reports.
  5. Economics

    Does A Junk Rating Reflect Russia's Fundamentals?

    Moody’s, like other credit rating agencies, has downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating to non-investment grade, but does this reflect Russia's economy?
  6. Economics

    What Would Happen If Interest Rates Rise?

    This time around, while U.S. long-term yields have rebounded from their January lows, rates have generally been lower than where they ended 2014.
  7. Investing

    Strategies To Position Your Bond Portfolio

    Fixed income investors may not be able to see them all right now, but important trends are stirring on the investment horizon.
  8. Investing

    Active Funds: Getting What You Are Paying For?

    Fund investing could have hidden costs that can potentially make a big impact on your final return, particularly over the long-term.
  9. Brokers

    OptionsXpress Vs. OptionsHouse: Which One To Pick?

    OptionsXpress and OptionsBroker -- each offers a price mix and set of services suitable for certain investors based on their trade approach and priorities.
  10. Investing Basics

    This Investment Strategy Could Be Your key To Success

    Goal-based investing seems like an obvious tactic. But many investors have only a vague idea what their goals are, much less how to achieve them.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Gordon Growth Model

    A model for determining the intrinsic value of a stock, based on a future series of dividends that grow at a constant rate. ...
  2. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's costs of production by assessing the input costs of each step ...
  3. Law Of Supply

    A microeconomic law stating that, all other factors being equal, as the price of a good or service increases, the quantity ...
  4. Investment Grade

    A rating that indicates that a municipal or corporate bond has a relatively low risk of default. Bond rating firms, such ...
  5. Fringe Benefits

    A collection of various benefits provided by an employer, which are exempt from taxation as long as certain conditions are ...
  6. Irrevocable Trust

    A trust that can't be modified or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary. The grantor, having transferred assets ...
Trading Center