Primary Market & Secondary MarketBonds
Bond markets divide into the primary market and the secondary market. The categorization changes depending on who’s selling the bond. Only initial issuers sell in primary market transactions. Any bond holder can sell in the secondary market.
The primary market consists of sales from initial issuers to secondary purchasers. Bonds which successfully complete the underwriting process proceed to the primary market for sale to their initial purchasers. The sales price is set by the issuer and underwriter, and balances demand with desired financing levels. The bond purchaser can resell the bond in secondary market transactions.
Certain investments are limited only to the primary market. American savings bonds are sold directly from the government to investors over the internet. They are bound to the investor’s social security number, so only that investor can receive any form of financial reimbursement for ownership. Prices in the secondary market are set by supply and demand. Bonds bound to the initial investor are known as “non-transferable bonds” and cannot be sold in the secondary market.
The secondary market consists of purchases and sales after issue. Secondary market transactions often occur via an exchange, but the vast majority are within “over the counter” market. Dealers and brokers primarily trade in this marketplace.
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