It turns out that bond investors do occasionally put down theircollective foot and refuse to be cash registers for bigcompanies.

Just such a moment came late Wednesday, when CharterCommunications Inc. withdrew a planned $1.5 billion bond sale,citing “market conditions.” The reality is the telecommunicationscompany wanted to borrow money at rock-bottom rates and use theproceeds to buy back shares but dropped its plan when bondbuyers pushed back the tiniest bit.

To be fair, this week has been a bit weaker for lower-ratedcorporate debt, largely because of lower energy prices that havepressured leveraged oil and gas drillers. But money is stillrelatively cheap. Borrowing costs for risky companies outside ofthe energy sector rose by a mere 0.10 percentage point in thepast week, to 5.38%, compared with the decade-long average of 6.7%.Yields on Charter bonds are still near record lows.

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