Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail
Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

Current Yield

What it is:

Current yield represents the prevailing interest rate that a bond or fixed income security is delivering to its owners.

How it works (Example):

The formula for current yield is defined as follows:

CY = Annual interest payment / Current Bond Price

For example, let's assume a particular bond is trading at par, or 100 cents on the dollar, and that it pays a coupon rate of 3%. In this case, the bond's current yield will also be 3% (as shown below).

CY = 3 / 100 = 3.00%

However, let's now assume that the same bond is trading at a discount to its par value. For the sake of example, let's say investors can now purchase the bond for just 95 cents on the dollar. In this case, even though the bond will still be paying a 3% coupon, its current yield will actually be slightly higher (as shown below):

CY = 3 / 95 = 3.16%

As another example, let's say the bond is trading at a premium to its face value -- 110 cents on the dollar. In this case, even though the bond will still be paying a 3% coupon, its current yield will actually be quite a bit lower (as shown below):

CY = 3 / 110 = 2.73%

[Use our Yield to Call (YTC) Calculator to measure your annual return if you hold a particular bond until its first call date.]

[Use our Yield to Maturity (YTM) Calculator to measure your annual return if you plan to hold a particular bond until maturity.]

Why it Matters:

The important thing to note here is that for most bonds, the stated coupon rate will usually remain the same (in this case, 3%). However, as the prevailing level of interest rates changes over time, the return that investors will require (the current yield) in order to hold a specific bond will fluctuate. As a result, investors will send bond prices higher or lower until the current yield on that bond is equivalent to other securities with similar risk profiles.