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In the never-ending search for yield in a zero-interest-rate environment, one place on the ratings scale worth considering when looking for corporate fixed income securities is the lower reaches of investment grade. The following six corporate notes all have Baa1 or Baa2 ratings from Moody's. The S&P 500 also rates each of the notes, although its ratings vary a bit more than Moody's, from a high of A+ to a low of BBB-. With maturities ranging from 2016 all the way to 2041, yields of 3.421% to 6.628%, and companies across a few different sectors, the list that follows offers ideas for fixed income investors to further explore.

Computer Sciences' (CSC) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 205363AL8) maturing 3/15/2018 has a coupon of 6.50% and is asking 99.349 cents on the dollar (6.628% yield-to-maturity before commissions). It has a make whole call, conditional puts for a change of control, and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa1; S&P rates it BBB+. It was originally offered at a price of 99.575, and the offer size was $1.0 billion. The offer date was February 27, 2009. This note has traded in a range of 95.25 (on 1/5/12) to 101.95 (on 1/13/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 3/31/2018 U.S. Treasury note (CUSIP: 912828QB9) is yielding 1.09%, which means Computer Sciences' note is asking 553.80 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury note.

Amgen's (AMGN) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 031162BD1) maturing 10/1/2020 has a coupon of 3.45% and is asking 100.215 cents on the dollar (3.421% yield-to-maturity before commissions). It has a make whole call, conditional puts for a change of control, and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa1; S&P rates it A+. It was originally offered at a price of 99.629, and the offer size was $900 million. The offer date was September 13, 2010. This note has traded in a range of 98.447 (on 1/5/12) to 102.225 (on 1/10/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 11/15/2020 U.S. Treasury note (CUSIP: 912828PC8) is yielding 1.66%, which means Amgen's note is asking 176.10 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury note.

American International Group's (AIG) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 026874CB1) maturing 9/15/2016 has a coupon of 4.875% and is asking 98.24 cents on the dollar (5.305% yield-to-maturity before commissions). It has a make whole call and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa1; S&P rates it A-. It was originally offered at a price of 98.943, and the offer size was $800 million. The offer date was September 8, 2011. This note has traded in a range of 95.125 (on 1/11/12) to 99.75 (on 1/13/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 9/30/2016 U.S. Treasury note (CUSIP: 912828RJ1) is yielding 0.724%, which means AIG's note is asking 458.10 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury note.

Best Buy's (BBY) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 086516AK7) maturing 3/15/2016 has a coupon of 3.75% and is asking 97.571 cents on the dollar (4.395% yield-to-maturity before commissions). It has a make whole call and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa2; S&P rates it BBB-. It was originally offered at a price of 99.606, and the offer size was $350 million. The offer date was March 8, 2011. This note has traded in a range of 95.496 (on 1/12/12) to 100.333 (on 1/5/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 3/31/2016 U.S. Treasury note (CUSIP: 912828QA1) is yielding 0.592%, which means Best Buy's note is asking 380.30 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury note.

Prudential Financial's (PRU) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 74432QBS3) maturing 5/12/2041 has a coupon of 5.625% and is asking 101.274 cents on the dollar (5.536% yield-to-maturity before commissions). It has a make whole call and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa2; S&P rates it A. It was originally offered at a price of 99.070, and the offer size was $300 million. The offer date was May 9, 2011. This note has traded in a range of 97.47 (on 1/5/12) to 104.248 (on 1/13/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 5/15/2041 U.S. Treasury bond (CUSIP: 912810QQ4) is yielding 2.865%, which means Prudential's note is asking 267.10 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury bond.

Cigna's (CI) senior unsecured note (CUSIP: 125509BS7) maturing 2/15/2022 has a coupon of 4.00% and is asking 100.521 cents on the dollar (3.936% yield-to-call before commissions). It is callable beginning November 2021 at the greater of 100 or make whole, has conditional puts for a change of control, and pays interest semi-annually. Moody's currently rates the note Baa2; S&P rates it BBB. It was originally offered at a price of 99.042, and the offer size was $750 million. The offer date was November 3, 2011. This note has traded in a range of 97.634 (on 1/11/12) to 101.664 (on 1/6/12) since January 5, 2012. Currently, the 11/15/2021 U.S. Treasury note (CUSIP: 912828RR3) is yielding 1.861%, which means Cigna's note is asking 207.50 basis points more than a corresponding Treasury note.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these securities but are nervous about counterparty risk wreaking havoc on your portfolio, learn how to hedge individual bonds in, "Protect Your Income Portfolio With Cross-Asset Hedging."

Please be aware that prices in the over-the-counter U.S. bond market may vary depending on the broker you use. The current prices may also differ greatly from those listed at the time this article was written. For additional information on any of these notes, please contact your broker or read the indenture.

Also, please do your own due diligence on the financial profiles of the companies mentioned in this article. Only you can determine if taking the counterparty risk of purchasing individual bonds is suitable for you.

Source: 6 Investment Grade Corporate Bonds To Explore