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Adding U.S. Corporate Bonds to Watchlists

Lesson 4 of 9
Duration 6:20
Level Beginner
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This lesson addresses how to search for, filter, select, and configure U.S. corporate bonds using the IBKR Trader Workstation’s Mosaic Monitor panel.

Study Notes:

Now that we’ve covered how to search for, and select, specific U.S. government securities in TWS watchlists, we’ll now turn our attention to U.S. corporate bonds.

The process of adding corporate bonds to your Monitor is similar to that for U.S. Treasuries, but instead of typing ‘US-T’, you’ll start by entering the stock ticker of the issuing company’s parent.

Searching for Specific Corporate Bonds

In this example, we’ll use the ticker symbol for Deere & Co, or ‘DE’.

When (1) typing ‘DE’ into a watchlist cell and pressing enter, (a) the contract selection menu will be displayed. All listings associated with the symbol ‘DE’ will then be listed – but look carefully before making a selection!

For instance, you’ll see (b) shares in Deere are listed primarily on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – the top selection, and they also trade on (c) EBS, the SIX Swiss Exhange. The same ‘DE’ ticker symbol is also assigned to another company (d) listed on Canada’s Venture exchange. These are all equity-related selections, while we’re searching for a U.S. corporate debt security. You’ll also want to note that the ‘DE’ symbol is also assigned to the country of Germany and (e) selecting “Bundesrep[ublik]. Deutschland” from the menu would list outstanding German government debt in euros.

The correct selection is (f) listed under Corporate Fixed Income. Click (2) that selection to display (g) the Contract Selection tool. If you widen the Issuer column, you’ll see all the subsidiaries whose debt is listed in TWS.

Clicking on (3) the top-level Deere & Co will display all outstanding bonds by that issuer. Notice that the list of filters also activates – these filters only appear when an entity is selected. See how the available listing changes if (4) another issuer is selected from the filter.

Currencies & Currency Filter

In our previous lesson, we mentioned that the Filters column might also display a currency selection menu. This specific ticker is a great example of the care you should take in locating bonds. At the top level of Deere & Co, note the information displayed about the listing of bonds. This reflects the (a) issuer, (b) type, (c) exchange and (d) currency. You can see that each of the listed bonds is in U.S. dollars, and there is no currency filter listed in the left column. This is because this issuer, Deere & Co, has only issued U.S. dollar-denominated bonds.

The next entity, John Deere Canada Funding Inc, displays only bonds (a) denominated in Canadian dollars, which, again, removes the need for a currency filter. There are more U.S. dollar bonds under (b) John Deere Capital Corp – but again, since they are all denominated in a single currency, there is no need for a currency filter.

However, with other issuers of corporate bonds, for example, the Walt Disney Company, you will see (a) a currency filter; this is because that entity has issued bonds in multiple currencies. In this case, the filter can be applied to display (b) only bonds denominated in a specific currency.

Add a Corporate Bond to the Watchlist

Returning to Deere & Co, select a bond to add to the watchlist. As with U.S. Treasuries, simply (1) highlight the bond you wish to add to the Monitor and click (2) Add and (3) OK when done.

The Monitor (a) now reflects the bond that has been added, and when (4) clicked, that specific security will display in (b) charts, (c) order entry, or any other color-linked panel.

While we’ll discuss charts and order entry in a later lesson, for now, you should be able to enter the ticker for any underlying security and locate available corporate bonds to add to your watchlist.

Search by CUSIP / IBCID

If you are very familiar with the instruments you wish to add to your display, you may know the CUSIP of the bond or its unique IB identifier (IBCID). If you do, simply type it into TWS and press enter.

For example, if you input CUSIP number 459200AS0, you’ll see (a) an IBM bond with a 6.5% coupon maturing in 2028. When you add the IBM bond CUSIP to your monitor, you will also notice that this number populates (b) the CUSIP column rather than its IBCID identifier. To locate IBCID numbers, visit the IBKR website page under the Products menu by selecting Product Listings and then Bonds.

Search by Issuer Name

If you do not know the underlying stock ticker for a corporate issuer, try typing its name, full or in part, into a watchlist cell.

Using Dollar General as an example, type the issuer’s name (‘Dollar General’) into a watchlist cell and press enter. The Search dialogue box will then appear, and all instances of ‘Dollar General’ will be returned as groups of asset classes (e.g., stocks and bonds).

Deselect all asset classes except ‘Bonds’ in the search return by clicking the appropriate checkboxes. You will then see the choice for Dollar General bonds. Highlight this choice and click OK to open the Contract Selection box, where available bonds for Dollar General are listed, and where you may apply filters such as maturity or coupon, if you wish.

TIP: Add any bond to the Monitor display by clicking Add and OK when finished.

Bond Description

To demonstrate how to locate the description of a bond, we’ll use a 3.5% Dollar General bond maturing in 2030.

To find out more about this specific instrument, (1) right-click on the ticker symbol and locate the
expansion arrow for (2) ‘Financial Instrument Info’ in the floating menu. You may choose (3) ‘Details’ for (a) a web-display listing of details, or (4) ‘Description’ for (b) a pop-up of information within TWS, which, among other details, will reveal the bond’s:

  • Payment Frequency,
  • Whether it’s convertible,
  • Whether it has any call option provisions, as well as its associated
  • Sector,
  • Industry, and
  • Category.

Dollar Amount Display

You may change the setting for bonds to be displayed in actual dollar amounts, or by
thousands of dollars – denoted by the letter ‘k’ for thousands – by configuring TWS.

To do this, (1) use the File dropdown menu to access (2) Global Configuration, then (3) click the expand sign next to the Display menu, and (4) select Ticker Row. Here, you can choose between the (a) two display settings.

Coming Up Next

We’ll dive more deeply into searching for fixed-income instruments in our next lesson, where we’ll cover how to use IBKR’s Global Bond Scanner, as well as the Advanced Market Scanner.

At this point, you should now be able to easily locate bonds in the Mosaic Monitor panel by CUSIP, as well as filter by maturity, coupon, currency, and more.

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Disclosure: Interactive Brokers

The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad-based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation by IBKR to buy, sell or hold such investments. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interactive Brokers, its affiliates, or its employees.

Disclosure: Order Types / TWS

The order types available through Interactive Brokers LLC's Trader Workstation are designed to help you limit your loss and/or lock in a profit. Market conditions and other factors may affect execution. In general, orders guarantee a fill or guarantee a price, but not both. In extreme market conditions, an order may either be executed at a different price than anticipated or may not be filled in the marketplace.

Disclosure: Displaying Symbols on Video

Any stock, options or futures symbols displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray recommendations.

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