A benchmark gauge of U.S. corporate credit rise rose to the highest level in more than six weeks as lawmakers failed to agree on budget cuts and as yields on Spanish and Italian sovereign debt climbed.

The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index of credit default swaps, which investors use to hedge against losses on corporate debt or to speculate on creditworthiness, added 4.6 basis points to a mid-price of 140.5 basis points at 4:52 p.m. in New York, according to index administrator Markit Group Ltd. The cost of protecting U.S. government debt rose to the highest level in two months.

Traders pushed the measures higher as a U.S. deficit- cutting congressional supercommittee said today it failed to reach agreement, extending partisan gridlock into the 2012 election and setting the stage for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of credit-default swaps on 15 governments rose 9 basis points to 361, compared with an all-time high of 362 reached on Nov. 15, as Moody's Investors Service said France's rising financing costs are increasing the nation's fiscal challenges.

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