MONEY: Bonds in Disarray

An arcane and specialized corner of Wall Street, the bond market is usually a place where corporations can count on raising enormous sums of money —$12 billion in just the first three months of this year—with little fuss. But recently the market has been anything but placid. Prices have been dropping so fast, interest rates rising so rapidly and bonds going unsold in such numbers that some veteran traders say that the market is "in disarray."

Barely a month ago, interest rates on high-quality industrial bonds averaged 8.45%; two weeks ago they were...

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