Bond Yields and the Yield Curve Putting It All Together

Going back to Figure 7.4, recall that we saw that the yields on Treasury notes and bonds of different maturities are not the same. Each day, in addition to the Treasury prices and yields shown in Figure 7.4, The Wall Street Journal provides a plot of Treasury yields relative to maturity. This plot is called the Treasury yield curve (or just the yield curve). Figure 7.7 shows the yield curve drawn from the yields in Figure 7.4.

As you probably now suspect, the shape of the yield curve is a reflection of the term structure of interest rates. In fact, the Treasury yield curve and the term structure of interest rates are almost the same thing. The only difference is that the term structure is based on pure discount bonds, whereas the yield curve is based on coupon bond yields. As a result, Treasury yields depend on the three components that underlie the term structure—the real rate, expected future inflation, and the interest rate risk premium.

Treasury yield curve

A plot of the yields on Treasury notes and bonds relative to maturity.

Ross et al.: Fundamentals of Corporate Finance, Sixth Edition, Alternate Edition

III. Valuation of Future Cash Flows

7. Interest Rates and Bond Valuation

© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2002

PART THREE Valuation of Future Cash Flows

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