WASHINGTON - A fresh batch of sour economic reports yesterday sent bond market hopes for another round or rate cuts by the Federal Reserve soaring and fueled speculation that President Bush's chances of re-election are increasingly unlikely.

Analysts said they are as convinced as they can be that Fed officials will decide today to reduce the discount rate to 2.5% from 3% and trim the federal funds rate at least 25 basis points to 2.75% if the employment report for September shows continuing stagnation in the labor markets.

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