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Exchange-traded funds that amassed junk bonds at a record pace in the first half of 2012 are now attracting unprecedented cash to buy speculative-grade loans as investors wager that a four-year rally in the notes is ending.

Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest private-equity firm, is planning its first ETF that will mostly buy loans, and Pyxis Capital LP, spun off from Highland Capital Management LP, announced its first such fund last week. Invesco Ltd.’s PowerShares Senior Loan fund, started two years ago as the first ETF solely dedicated to loans, has grown to become the third- biggest speculative-grade debt ETF with $1.2 billion of assets.

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