Corporate bonds that will mature in five to seven years returned 1.88% this year, compared with 0.75% for corporate bonds of all maturities, according to indexes from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "I don't see anybody jumping into 30-year paper anytime soon with this looming threat of rates going up," said Rajeev Sharma, a money manager at First Investors Management. "On the other end, the biggest problem with buying really short-term paper right now is it doesn't really pay you anything. The next best option is to buy five to seven years."

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