Low interest rates, swelling investor demand, and a robust economy made the first quarter of 1998 the biggest ever for the high-yield market.

The market racked up $40.1 billion of new issues in the first three months of this year, according to Securities Data Co., dwarfing the $18 billion issued in the first quarter of 1997. There was $124 billion of issuance in all of last year.

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