To understand why they were flustered, you have to understand that the "long bond" is to fixed-income fanciers what the Dow is to the equities crowd: the basic if imperfect shorthand for discussing the state of the market. And lately, the long bond has been on everybody's lips because its price has been rising inexorably.

But now, the talk is that the 10-year issue may become the new standard, and "long bond" may disappear from the argot.

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