Selling Junk: Popular but precarious bonds

Popular but precarious bonds

The term junk bonds conjures up an image of useless certificates sitting in a pile in someone's garage. Nonetheless, junk bonds, which originally were issued mostly by companies in financial trouble, have taken on a slick new role as a money-raising device for corporate-takeover artists and entrepreneurial companies. The amount of junk-bond issues has grown from $3 billion in 1982 to $14.3 billion last year. &

The proliferation of the paper, though, is causing both moneymen and legislators to wonder whether the junk pile could collapse. Last week New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici introduced a Senate bill that would halt the...

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