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Junk gains wiped out

Junk bond investors worldwide are poised to forfeit all the gains they've accumulated this year as a sell-off triggered by plunging oil prices pushes the debt toward its first loss since the financial crisis.

Returns on speculative-grade notes shrank to 0.15pc for the year from 4.34pc at the end of November, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.

The fall in the level of the returns put them on track for the worst annual performance since losing 27pc in 2008, the data shows.