Observers of the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Visa and MasterCard say that the judge’s decision to cancel closing arguments may mean simply that she has heard enough — or it could mean that she has already decided in favor of the credit card associations and merely wants time to write up her opinion.

Though all theories are speculative, people who have been following the trial say the judge, Barbara Jones of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, would probably be reluctant to slam the card companies without giving them a final say.

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