Thirty-year bond returns are on track to beat stocks for the first time since before the Civil War. Fixed-income returns are up 6.25% this year, compared to just 2.18% for the S&P 500, while debt is expected to return more than 7.6%. The unlikely reversal has come as a surprise for many big-time managers, including Bill Gross and Meredith Whitney, who had warned investors about weakness in the bond market.

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