The race to dominate the European junk bond market has hit its stride, and American firms, which had 15 years to gain expertise in the U.S. high- yield market, were there when the gun sounded.

A number of U.S. commercial and investment banks have already launched narrowly focused indexes of euro-denominated high-yield bonds. Each index takes a distinct slant on the market, which is still in its infancy but is expected to grow for many reasons, among them the Jan. 1 debut of the euro.

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