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像債券投資者一樣思考 Thinking Like a Bond Investor

五月 1 , 2024  

by Charles Cheng, CFA



Investing in single bonds issued by companies is something that most individual investors usually don’t practice, given the relative difficulty of making transactions versus buying and selling stocks and due to the availability of bond funds.  But it can still be useful to understand the various factors that bond investors consider that are relevant to investors in any company.

考慮到相對於買賣股票的交易難度以及債券基金的可獲得性,大多數個人投資者通常不會投資公司發行的單一債券。 但了解債券投資者認為與任何公司投資者相關的各種因素仍然有用。


Bonds and equities both represent claims on the future cash flows of the company.  Most corporate bonds have a fixed payout and a fixed term and are entitled to the company’s cash flows before the equity holders are.  Because there is credit risk in that the company might run into trouble and not be able to pay back their creditors, the return that the bond holders need to hold on the bonds is higher than interest rate on a “risk-free” bond (like a US Treasury) of the same maturity.  In practice, this is reflected in that they would trade at a lower price than a bond with the same payout that doesn’t have credit risk, and the additional yield that investors require over the risk-free rate is called the credit spread.

債券和股票均代表對公司未來現金流的債權(權利)。 大多數公司債都有固定的派息和固定的期限,並且有權在股東之前獲得公司的現金流。 由於存在信用風險,公司可能會遇到麻煩而無法償還債權人,因此債券持有人需要持有的債券回報率是高於「無風險」債券的利率的(例如相同期限的美國財政部)。 在實踐中,這反映在它們會以比沒有信用風險的相同派息的債券更低的價格進行交易,而投資者要求的相對於無風險利率的額外收益稱為信用利差。 


Therefore, there are multiple things that could significantly affect the price of a corporate bond. It could be on the interest side, where higher interest rates in the economy means that the bond price needs to fall to reflect the higher risk-free rate.  Or it could be on the credit side where business performance could have suffered enough to make the future cash flows of the company less certain. Or there could be a market wide impact where credit spreads in general have widened and the bond price needs to adjust to match the attractiveness of its alternatives.

因此,有多種因素可能會顯著影響公司債的價格。 可能是在利息方面: 經濟中較高的利率意味著債券價格需要下跌以反映較高的無風險利率。 或者可能是在信貸方面:業務績效可能受到嚴重影響,使公司未來的現金流變得更加不確定。 或者可能產生廣泛的市場影響,信貸利差普遍擴大,債券價格需要調整以適應其替代品的吸引力。 


If the price falls, the security’s expected future return increases because you get the same payout for a lower cost.  But if it falls too much, perhaps the market is signaling that there may be some future problems with the company, and you could end up with a very negative return.  On the other hand, if you have done your research and correctly believe that the price has fallen too much, you could make a significant extra return by buying the bond.  So, it is important to understand which of the reasons given previously have caused the current valuation of the bond.  For a given level of expected return, it would also be prudent to own a number of bonds rather than a single issue if possible, so that any one credit default would not bring down your entire portfolio.

如果價格下跌,證券的預期未來回報就會增加,因為您以較低的成本獲得相同的派息水平。 但如果跌幅太大,也許是市場正在發出訊號,顯示該公司未來可能會出現一些問題,最終可能使您損失慘重。 另一方面,如果您對該公司債已經作了徹底的研究並認為價格確實下跌太多,您可以透過購買債券獲得可觀的額外回報。 因此,了解先前給出的哪些原因導致了債券目前的估值非常重要。 對於某些特定的預期回報水平,如果可能的話,持有多隻債券而不是單一發行的債券也是謹慎的做法,這樣任何一次信用違約都不會拖垮你的整個投資組合。 


While this might seem a bit complex to track, especially for an entire portfolio of companies, it is even more complicated for equities.  That’s because equities, while also being claims on cash flows, don’t have any fixed term or fixed payout, and represent a claim on future earnings for the life of the company.  Therefore, estimates on the future growth of company earnings matter tremendously for the price of the stock.  The stock price is affected by the same three factors above plus market expectations about the long-term trajectory of earnings (which is harder to quantify), while the bondholder is only concerned with the cash flows up to the maturity of the bond. Like the bondholder, the stockholder should also understand what the market is factoring into the price of the security before reacting to market movements.  Uncertainty over whether the market expectation of future earnings is an additional risk factor for the stock investor.  However, the equity holder has an advantage over the bond holder, where if they correctly identify a company that can sustain growth or maintenance of cashflows for far longer than the market anticipates then their potential for returns is almost limitless. In this case, it would be difficult to diversify and still maintain the same level of expected returns.

雖然以上述方法追蹤一隻債券可能有點複雜,特別是對於整個投資組合而言,然而對於股票來說則是難上加難了。 這是因為股票雖然也是對現金流的債權,但它沒有任何固定期限或固定派息,並且它代表了對公司整個生命週期內未來收益的債權。 因此,對公司未來獲利成長的預測對於股票價格至關重要。 股價同樣受到上述三個因素的影響,加上市場對獲利長期軌跡的預期(較難量化),而債券持有人只需要關心債券到期前的現金流。 與債券持有人一樣,股東在對市場走勢做出反應之前也應該了解市場將哪些因素納入證券價格。 市場對未來獲利預期的不確定性也是股票投資人的另一個風險因素。 然而,股權持有人比債券持有人有優勢,如果他們正確地識別出一家能夠比市場預期更長時間維持成長或維持現金流的公司,那麼他們的回報潛力幾乎是無限的。 但在這種情況下,就很難在進行多元化投資的同時仍保持相同水準的預期回報。 


For investors that only invest in the individual equities of companies, the day-to-day fluctuations of stock prices and non-stop news flow can be a distraction from an objective consideration of an investment that you have made.  Sometimes it can be helpful to think like a bond holder to consider how your investment has been affected and then react accordingly.

對於只投資公司個別股票的投資人來說,股價的日常波動和不間斷的新聞流可能會分散你對投資的客觀考量。 有時,像債券持有人一樣的思考,考慮您的投資如何受到的影響,然後做出相應的反應,會很有幫助。 



This article reflects the personal views of the author and not any firm’s and should not be viewed as an investment recommendation.