As the U.S. Federal Reserve shuts down its program of purchasing mortgage-backed bonds, traders wonder what force might come along to drive one of the greatest corporate-bond rallies in history a little further. This month, $31.5 billion in high-yield debt was brought to the market, beating a record set in November 2006. Investors are debating whether the economy can sustain this level of bond-market activity with the central bank on the sidelines.

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