How Do You Find the Historical Value of a Bond?


Quick Answer

Interested parties can obtain historical value data for various types of bonds from the "Bond" section of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority online portal, according to its website. Those exclusively seeking historical U.S. Treasury bond value data can navigate to Investing.com or TradingCharts.com and select desired time frames on the interactive charts that the sites provide, or download the data from TreasuryDirect.gov. Those seeking an analysis of historical bond performance can visit Investopedia.com.

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Compared to stocks, U.S. government bonds performed poorly in the 20th century because of the anemic risk premiums added into the pricing of these securities during the 1900s, notes Investopedia. This meant that bond investors were not adequately compensated for the tumult that the bond market exhibited during a significant proportion of the century.

With an aggregate of -19 percent, real U.S. government bond returns were particularly poor in 1918, explains Investopedia. These eventually rose, especially after the authorities lifted certain restrictions on government bond yields in 1951, leading to a 35 percent return in 1982. In contrast, the stock market yielded positive real returns throughout the same period. U.S. corporate bonds also performed better than their government counterparts in the same time frame, adding, on average, 100 basis points over comparable government securities.

The bond market saw increased participation by foreign investors, mutual funds and retail investors in the 1980s as a result of burgeoning globalization, reports Investopedia. This period also saw the development of new bond-based asset classes such as mortgage-backed securities, high-yield securities, inflation-protected securities, asset-backed securities and the so-called catastrophe bonds, which players in the bond market use to raise money during catastrophes such as earthquakes.

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