Face Value: Definition in Finance, Comparison With Market Value

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What is face value

The value of the stocks increases as the issuer begins to turn quarterly profits and sees returns on the investments generated by investors purchasing the stocks. For example, the face value of money is set by the federal government and printed directly on it, so it’s easy to identify. In the investment industry, face value typically involves the value of securities, such as stocks and bonds. Face value is an important concept to understand when trading stocks and other financial instruments. It is the nominal value of a security or instrument and is used to determine the initial value of the security.

However, because bonds pay interest, the market price of the bond may rise or fall from the face value as prevailing interest rates change. For instance, if the bond pays fixed interest at 5% and prevailing market rates fall to just 2%, people will pay more for that bond than its face in order to enjoy the higher yield. This is why a bond’s market price is inversely related to interest rates. For example, if the issuer needs to have a factory-built that has a cost of $2 million, it may price shares at $1,000 and issue 2,000 of them to raise the needed funds.

While face value is the original price of a stock as set by its issuer, market value is influenced by external supply-and-demand forces. Market value is the price that the market will bear, and it can differ significantly from a stock’s initial price. For example, the face value of Apple shares is $0.00001, while the market value of its shares can fluctuate above $100. So, let’s say that the face value of your bond is $1,000, and you want to sell it for what you paid for it, $800. Face value is important when making bond calculations, such as interest payments, market values, discounts and premiums.

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In the era of digitalization, shareholders do not receive certificates of their holdings. Both terms refer to the stated value of a security issued by a corporation. Face value is typically an arbitrary number set by the issuer, which is usually indicated on the company’s balance sheets. As mentioned above, the face value of a security represents the dollar value the issuer gives to the security when it’s initially issued. Typically, this value remains stagnant over the lifespan of the security. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool’s premium services. For a bond, the face value is the amount of money that you’re owed when the bond comes to maturity. So, for example, you might buy a bond with a face value of $1,000 for $800, and when it matures in three years, you can cash it in for $1,000. Bonds are an important asset class in financial markets that are often used in a diversified… In the US, the face value is typically $1,000 for a corporate bond, $5,000 for a municipal bond and $10,000 for a government bond.

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Only the above-and-beyond capital may be released to investors, in the form of dividends. In essence, the funds that cover the face value, function as a type of default reserve. A bond’s face value is the amount the issuer provides to the bondholder, once maturity is reached. A bond may either have an additional interest rate, or the profit may be based solely on the increase from a below-par original issue price and the face value at maturity. Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is a financial services company dedicated to making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

What is face value

Face value is the nominal or stated value of a security, while market value is the current value of a security as determined by supply and demand in the open market. While face value is the original value of a security as stated by the issuer, market value is the current price of a security as determined by the market. This is used to indicate when a bond is selling at a discount (below face value), or a premium (above face value), so investors can reduce risks when buying or selling. The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice.

Face value versus par value

As a result, you may be forced to sell at a much steeper discount to attract a buyer because of the face value and time left to maturity. A buyer might be willing to take it at $800 since they know they’re definitely going to return 20% on the bond, even if it’s a zero-coupon bond. Security  is a type of financial instrument that holds value and can be traded… Face value can also be used to calculate the cost basis of a security, which is used to determine the capital gains or losses when the security is sold. Also, face value is important in the calculation of bond prices. Unlike stocks, the price of a bond is profoundly based on the face value of the bond.

  • The market value of stocks and bonds is determined by the buying and selling of securities on the open market.
  • With this type of policy, you can also surrender your life insurance policy at any time for the cash value amount, minus any loan amounts taken out.
  • For stocks, the face value is the original cost of the stock, as listed on the certificate.
  • You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

On the other hand, the market value represents the price that an investor agrees to purchase and the issuer agrees to sell a specific security. This value often fluctuates significantly based on various factors, such as supply and demand and current interest rates. It’s important for investors, especially new investors, to understand how face value relates to stocks and bonds and how it differs from market value. Face value can help investors better compare stock and bond options and assess profits. The face value of an instrument doesn’t change except in the case of a stock split.

Face value and stock shares

EAG is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and subsidiary of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money.

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Although the price of a bond is influenced by its face value, this is not necessarily the same as the bond’s market value. The book value of an instrument is the price that the current holder of the instrument purchased it for. For the shareholders of a company, the book value of the company is the net equity of the company on the balance sheet.


Market value, or the value an asset is selling for in the market, is another thing altogether. As an investor, it’s important to understand what face value is and how it compares to market value. This article delves deeper into what face value is regarding stocks, bonds and life insurance and how it differs from the market value. In the case of so-called “double indemnity” life insurance policies, the beneficiary receives double the face value in case of accidental death. Face value refers to the dollar value of a financial instrument when it is issued. Face value is important when you’re trying to choose an investment, as well as when you’re considering selling it.