Spreads Widest in Almost Two Years

Bond dealers on defensive amid European debt crisis, slowing global economy.

Wall Street traders are demanding the biggest premiums to buy and sell credit in almost two years as they seek protections from market swings driven by Europe’s debt crisis and a slowing global economy.

A measure of the cost of trading credit-default swaps has tripled this month as prices gyrate the most in 13 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and CMA in London. Amid the volatility, the biggest bond dealers cut their holdings of corporate securities to $73.1 billion as of Aug. 17, the least since July 2009, Federal Reserve data show.

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