The popularity of junk bonds in the U.S. is as high as it has been since the high flying days of the 1990s, according to a recent Financial Times report.

Sales of the product have eclipsed last year’s totals already, and its only June. A whopping $64 billion in junk-rated bonds have been sold to date in 2003, well ahead of the $59 billion sold all of last year, according to data from Thomson Financial. Analysts predict $100 billion in junk bonds will be issued this year.

The past months are being compared to the booming years of 1997 and 1998, when even the riskiest companies could sell debt with unprecedented ease. The reason for increased demand this year stems from investors’ ravenous appetite for higher returns combined with a staggering stock market earlier in the year.

And, the United States is not the only country seeing an upswing. Europe’s relatively small bond market has seen issuance more than double, according to FT.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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