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By all accounts, it was supposed to be a sleepy August for the U.S. corporate bond market.

Three weeks ago, the thinking went something like this: Sure, the Federal Reserve would cut its benchmark lending rate on July 31, in what Chair Jerome Powell would call a “mid-cycle adjustment.” But Treasuries were already pricing in such a move on the short end. Further out on the curve, the 30-year yield was about 2.6 percent, still more than 50 basis points (bps) away from its all-time low. Ten-year yields were about 2 percent, which seemed like a comfortable range for both buyers and sellers. For company finance officers, it had the makings of a sellers’ market but one that would be around once summer drew to a close.

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