A CUSIP is a nine-character code that uniquely identifies a financial security, such as a bond or stock, and is used to avoid confusion in trading. 

The first six characters identify the issuer of the security. Bonds are assigned CUSIPs when they are issued and approved for trading, so typically a bond deal will not have CUSIPs listed when it is first announced. CUSIP numbers are issued by the CUSIP Service Bureau, which is currently operated by S&P Capital IQ, a division of McGraw Hill Financial.

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