WASHINGTON - One fascinating feature of financial markets is that they price themselves in anticipation of events, and that is certainly true in the case of the bond market and President-elect Bill Clinton.

The bond market fretted over the prospect of a free-spending Democrat in the White House during the weeks leading up to the election, so that by the time the votes actually came in for Clinton, market reaction was muted. Both short-term and long-term rates had already edged higher before voters went to the polls.

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