Panic in The Junk Pile

The latent dread of junk-bond investors is that one really colorful case of corporate distress might set off a selling spree in the volatile market for the high-yield securities. Last week their fears shot to the surface when Canada's Campeau Corp. said it might default on its debt, which is in part composed of junk bonds. That disclosure sparked the market's worst drubbing since the Crash of 1987, as traders rushed to dump their holdings. During the week, junk-bond issues fell in price by $10 to as much as $130 for each $1,000 in face value. The rout left Wall Streeters...

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