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Byline: David Nicklaus
Sep. 22--AFTER DECEMBER, THE INTEREST RATE CRYSTAL BALL CLOUDS UP:
While the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, the bond market is busy marking them down.
On Tuesday, for the third time in three months, the Fed announced a quarter-point increase in the rate for overnight loans between banks. The Fed's stated intention is to return that rate to a neutral level, removing some of the stimulus it's been applying to the economy since 2001.
But exactly what is a neutral interest rate? The answer to that question has been shifting, at least among the folks who buy and sell bonds on Wall Street.
Conventional wisdom holds …