The car crusher

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After a couple of years of highly respectable returns in the corporate bond market, spreads have finally begun to bleed out, due almost entirely to a plethora of problems at the domestic automobile manufacturers. Just a month after General Motors reduced its earnings expectations, the carmakers’ annual talk with labor leaders failed to shift the burden of their health-care costs, pushing share prices to their lowest levels in 12 years.

Even though the broader market has been resilient—as the

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