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For the past year, issuers of high-yield debt must have been thinking that they’d died and gone to heaven. Demand for new paper throughout 2004 and into the first quarter of this year has been inexhaustible and financing costs are low–so low that policymakers

at the Federal Reserve are warning about “excessive risk-taking” by investors willing to shoulder so much risk for so little reward. “If a company is looking to sell debt, supply conditions right now are awesome. It doesn’t get much better,” says Diane Vazza, the New York-based head of fixed-income research with Standard & Poor’s (S&P). “You have low Treasury rates and if you slap on low spreads as well, it is very attractive financing.”

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