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Capital Market

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Economics

Have you ever wondered how businesses acquire funding for operating expenses or investments? Do you know you could raise capital without getting a loan? In this article, you will learn about the capital market and different financial instruments that help businesses cover their financial needs in the long run.

What is the capital market?

The capital market is the market where corporations and governments issue financial assets such as bonds and shares to meet their medium to long-term financial needs.

It is opposite to the money market which provides short-term financing. Let’s see a more detailed comparison of the capital and money markets:

Money market

(Short-dated financial assets)

Capital market

(Long-dated or undated financial assets)

Private sector raising finance

Commercial bills

New issues of shares and corporate bonds.

Central government raising finance

Treasury bills

New issues of government bonds (or gilts in the UK).

Table 1. Comparison of money market and capital market - StudySmarter.

While the money market is associated with short-dated financial assets, the capital market issues and trades long-dated or undated securities.

In the money market, there are bills issued by an investment bank or the Central Bank known as Commercial bills and Treasury bills. These are short-term loans that expire within a year. On the other hand, the capital market is made up of shares, corporate bonds, and government bonds that last for a year or more.

Classification of capital markets

The two main components of capital markets are the primary market and the secondary market.

Primary market

The primary market (new-issues market) is where securities are issued and traded in public for the first time.

In a primary market, investors buy securities directly from the issuer.

The securities in this case can be debt-based (loans), equity-based (stock/ownership of a company), or hybrid (combination of debt and equity).

The first issue of a private company’s stock on the market is called initial public offering (IPO), which marks the company’s transition from being privately owned to publicly owned. As a result, the IPO process is also referred to as ‘going public’.

Secondary market

The secondary market (second-hand market) is where investors trade securities first issued on the primary market.

Stock exchanges are secondary markets. Some of the world’s oldest and most reputable stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ in the US and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK.

Different types of capital market

The capital market is divided into two: the bond market and the stock market.

The bond market

Bonds are loans issued by the government or companies to fund their future spending or investment.

The two main types of bonds are corporate bonds and government bonds. In addition, there are foreign bonds and municipal bonds.

Corporate bonds

Corporate bonds are debt securities issued by a company to raise capital for their financial needs. They can be largely classified into investment-grade bonds and junk bonds. Investment-grade bonds are issued by large and influential corporations whereas junk bonds come from startups or financially struggling firms. The latter involves more risks but offers a more attractive interest rate than the former.

Government bonds

Government bonds are known in the UK as gilts. These are bonds with a fixed rate of returns issued by the government to cover its spending or pay for debts. It’s generally safer to invest in government bonds than other securities, though they are not risk-free due to interest rates, inflation, or liquidity issues.

Foreign bonds

Foreign bonds are issued by foreign corporations who want to obtain capital in the host country’s currency. For example, a US firm issuing a foreign bond in the UK capital market will obtain its funding in the British pound sterling. Foreign bonds allow businesses to raise the capital they would not otherwise be able to raise in their home market. However, there’s a risk of currency fluctuations which means the company may have to repay more than it has borrowed.

Municipal bonds

Municipal bonds are considered high-quality debt as they are issued by a state, a local government (not central government), or a nonprofit entity to fund public services. In the UK, the UK Municipal Bonds Agency (UK MBA) allows local authorities to source funding from sources other than the Central Government at a lower cost.1

The equity market

Equity or shares are undated financial assets issued by a firm to acquire funding.

Both public and private firms can issue shares, though only shares from public firms can be traded on a stock exchange.

There are five main types of shares, including:

Ordinary shares

These are the most popular type of shares because they shareholders a voting right. While ordinary shareholders have the highest potential financial gains, they are the last to pay if the company is to go bankrupt.

Non-voting ordinary shares

These are ordinary shares that don’t give the holder a voting right.

Preference shares

Preference shares carry no voting right though their holders can receive preferential treatment when it comes to dividends. Preference shareholders often receive a fixed dividend.

Cumulative preference shares

Cumulative preference shares allow the holders to receive the dividend cumulatively. This means that if a dividend is not paid this year, it will be paid in successive years as long as the company still makes profits.

Redeemable shares

Redeemable shares are sold on the agreement that the company can buy them back at a later date. Companies can’t issue redeemable shares alone, they must also issue other non-redeemable types of shares.

Bond calculation

In this section, we will learn about bond yield and how it correlates with bond prices.

Bond yield is the long-run interest rate earned by bondholders (people who purchase a bond).

There are two ways to calculate bond yield:

  • Current yield
  • Yield to maturity

Current yield

The current yield is the return the investor can expect when holding their investment for one year.

To calculate it, we simply divide the coupon by the bond’s market price.

  • The annual coupon payment is the guaranteed annual interest payment a bondholder can expect to receive from the bond issuer.
  • The bond market price is the price that is regulated by the supply and demand on the stock exchange. It is to be distinguished from the bond's issue price at which the bond can be redeemed at the maturity date.

Yield to maturity

Yield to Maturity (YTM) is the interest rate that makes the present values of all cash flows until maturity is equal to the price of the initial investment.

To calculate YTM, you need to consider the time value of money: the concept that a sum of money is worth more now than in the future.

Here’s the formula:


  • n: Number of periods till maturity.

Knowing the bond’s current market price, face value, time to maturity, and coupon payment, you can determine the rate of return YTM by applying a trial-and-error process until the present values of all future cash flows equal the bond price.2 A quicker way is to use an online calculator.

The inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rates

Let’s consider the case of a government bond to understand how bond prices and bond yields (long-term interest rates) are related.

Government bonds are long-term loans issued by the government at a fixed interest rate.

The price at which a bond is sold for the first time is called the issue price. This is also the maturity price that the bond issuer must pay the bondholder at the maturity date. When the bond is traded on a stock exchange, it will assume a second-hand price which is regulated by the supply and demand of the market.

Bond maturity is the time from the bond’s issue date to when the bond issuer must repay the original value of the bond to the investor.

Up till maturity, bond issuers are subjected to pay the investor a coupon payment.

Coupon is the annual interest rate on a bond, calculated as the percentage of the bond's face value (current yield).

Here’s an example with bond yield calculations:

Suppose a government bond is issued at the maturity price of £100. The annual interest payment is £10.

We can calculate the coupon payment or current yield of the bond at:

Now, if the bond is sold on the secondary market at the price of £200, the bond yield will drop to:

Consider another situation where the bond price drops to £50. The bond yield will increase to:

As you can see in the above examples, there is an inverse relationship between the bond price and the long-run interest rate (yield). When the long-term interest rate increases, the bond price will drop. Alternatively, a decline in the bond price will result in an increase in the bond yield.

Functions of the capital market

Finally, let’s study the functions of the capital market.

Raise capital

The capital market allows firms or the government to raise capital quickly for future financial needs. Firms can raise capital by issuing shares (equity), corporate bonds, or borrowing from a bank. As for the government, a common way to obtain funding is to issue government bonds. In the UK, government bonds are referred to as gilt-edged securities or gilts.

Common ways for firms to raise capital:

  • Issuing shares: companies can raise capital by selling ordinary shares. Ordinary shareholders retain part of the company’s ownership and thus gain certain rights to the business such as a voting right. They also receive dividends provided that the business is doing well financially and does not decide to reinvest the profit.
  • Bank loans: banks can lend money to a business at a fixed interest rate over a period of time. This interest rate is also known as the cost of borrowing which allows the business to calculate monthly payments and plan future cash flows.
  • Issuing bonds: a third option for companies to raise capital is issuing bonds. Bonds are preferable to bank loans as businesses tend to pay bondholders less than the interests they pay the banks. Also, unlike stocks, bonds don’t give investors a share of the company's profit.

Capital market raise fund StudySmarterCapital fund is raised through the capital market. Source: flaticon.com.

Connect buyers and sellers of securities

The capital market can link those with extra cash (buyers of a bond or equity) with those in need of capital (sellers of a bond or equity) to cover their financial needs. As a result, capital is put to more productive use. Instead of sitting idle, it is allocated to cover business expenses or investments while collecting interests for the investors.

Capital market buyer and seller StudySmarterBuyers and sellers are linked through the capital market. Source: flaticon.com.

Facilitate economic growth

The capital market allows businesses and governments to raise capital quickly for expansion and growth. For example, a business can acquire funding from the public to explore new markets and sell to more customers. This not only increases its income but also contributes to the overall economic growth.

Capital market economic growth StudySmarterEconomic growth facilitated by the capital market. Source: flaticon.com.

Inter-temporal consumption smoothing

Inter-temporal consumption smoothing is the smoothing of consumption over your lifetime, which occurs in practice.

In theory, though, the level of consumption should follow the level of income: in other words, consumption should increase as one earns more.

People’s income is usually depicted in a hump shape. It starts low in the beginning, rises and peaks in middle age, and decreases during retirement. This means you should consume less when you are young, consume more in middle age, and spend only a little amount when you retire. However, in reality, people like to smooth their consumption throughout a lifetime. They borrow money while they are young, pay off debts and save money in the middle of their lives, and spend their savings in retirement. One way to smooth your consumption efficiently (saving more money) is to invest in bonds and stocks.3

By storing wealth in bonds and stock, you can shift your purchasing power from one period to another. For example, if you spend all the money you earn today, there’ll be no extra cash for later use. On the other hand, purchasing shares of a company or holding them for a period of time will help you save money while earning an accumulated interest on top of the initial investment.

Capital market manage consumption StudySmarterConsumer purchasing power aided by the capital market. Source: flaticon.com.

Capital Market - Key takeaways

  • The capital market facilitates the trading of medium to long-term or undated securities.
  • It is classified into:
    • The primary market issues new securities.
    • The secondary market trades securities that already exist on the market.
  • Bonds are debt securities to raise capital for businesses or the government in the medium or long term. They include corporate bonds, government bonds, foreign bonds, and municipal bonds.
  • Shares are undated debt securities issued by a firm. They include ordinary shares, non-voting ordinary shares, preferential shares, cumulative preferential shares, and redeemable shares.
  • Bond yields and bond prices have an inverse relationship.
  • Key functions of the capital market include raising capital, linking buyers and sellers, facilitating economic growth, and inter-temporal consumption smoothing.

References

1. Colin Marrs, Aidan Brady on the municipal bond agency, 2014.

2. Jason Fernando, Yield to Maturity, Investopedia, 2021.

3. Scott A. Wolla, Smoothing the Path: Balancing Debt, Income, and Saving for the Future, 2014.

Capital Market

The capital market is the market that facilitates the trading of medium to long-term or undated securities to raise funds for businesses or the government. Unlike securities in a money market, which expire in less than one year, bonds and shares in the capital market are often for more than one year or have no maturity date. 

Market capitalization is the total value of all shares a company issues. To calculate market capitalization, simply multiply the share price by the number of outstanding shares. For example, a company issues 1,000,000 shares at the price of £50 each has a market cap of £50 Million. 

A capitalist economy is one where individuals control the factors of production (labour and capital). A free market functions according to law of supply and market rather than being controlled by the central government. Free market capitalism can, arguably, promote better production of goods and services if carried out properly. 

Bonds and shares are two primary financial instruments in the capital markets. Bonds are loans issued by the government or companies to fund their future spending whereas stock represent a company's ownership. In the bond market, investors can purchase corporate bonds, foreign bonds, government bonds, or municipal bonds. The equity market consists of company shares which represent ownership of a company. 

Final Capital Market Quiz

Question

What kind of financial assets is issued in the capital market?

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Answer

Medium to long-term or undated financial assets such as bonds and shares. 

Show question

Question

What is a capital market? 

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Answer

The capital market faciliates the lending and borrowing of medium to long-term or undated financial assets. 

Show question

Question

What is the most significant difference between the capital market and the money market?

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Answer

The capital market facilitates the trading of medium to long-term or undated financial instruments whereas the money market supplies short-term securities which mature in less than one year. 

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Question

How is the capital market classified?

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Answer

Into the primary market and the secondary market.

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Question

What is the difference between the primary market and the secondary market?

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Answer

The primary market issues and trade securities in public for the first time whereas the secondary market trades the existing securities. 

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Question

Where do investors purchase securities from in the primary market? 

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Answer

They can buy securities directly from the issuer. 

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Question

What does initial public offering (IPO) mean?

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Answer

The first issue of a private company's stock on the market is called IPO. 

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Question

Give some examples of stock exchanges.

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Answer

New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, NASDAQ.

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Question

What is a bond? 

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Answer

Bonds are loans issued by the government or companies to fund their future spending or investment.  

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Question

What are some types of bonds?

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Answer

Corporate bonds, foreign bonds, municipal bonds, and government bonds.

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Question

Are government bonds risk-free?

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Answer

It's generally safer to invest in government bonds than other securities. However, they are not risk-free due to issues related to interest rates, inflation, or liquidity. 

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Question

If a US firm issues a foreign bond in the UK, what will be the currency of the capital raised? 

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Answer

British pound sterling

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Question

Which bond is often issued by a large and influential firm?

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Answer

Investment-grade bond

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Question

What kind of share (equity) gives the shareholder a voting right in the company?

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Answer

Ordinary share 

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Question

What is bond yield?

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Answer

Bond yield is the long-run interest rate earned by bond holder. 

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Question

What are two ways to calculate bond yield?

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Answer

  • Current yield
  • Yield to maturity

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Question

What is the relationship between bond price and long-term interest rates (bond yield)?

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Answer

Bond yield and interest rates have an inverse relationship, meaning they move in opposite directions.

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Question

What are the main functions of the capital market?

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Answer

  • Raise capital
  • Connect buyers and sellers of securities
  • Boost economic growth
  • Consumption smoothing

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Question

Capital market is the market of ___________ or ___________ financial assets.

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Answer

long-dated, undated

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Question

Financial assets in the capital market have maturity dates of over a year. 

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Answer

True

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Question

The securities in the capital market can be ___________, equity-based, or ___________

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Answer

debt-based, hybrid

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Question

The IPO process is also referred to as going public. This means the company transitions from  ___________

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Answer

being privately owned to publicly owned

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Question

Corporate bonds are debt securities issued by ___________ to raise capital for their financial needs

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Answer

companies

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Government bonds are high-quality bonds. 

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Answer

True

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Junk bonds are less risky than investment-grade bonds. 

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Answer

True

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