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[$$] Wild Markets Pinch Trading, Vexing Investors

Stocks surged in the late afternoon after The Wall Street Journal reported that Federal Reserve officials were considering stepping back from their predictable pace of quarterly interest-rate increases, reassuring investors who worried the central bank was on an overly aggressive path. An imbalance of buyers and sellers disrupted trading among bonds and other assets early in the session, traders said, spurring larger-than-average price fluctuations. The diminished liquidity is making it harder to buy and sell stocks, bonds and oil futures and exacerbating swings in the year’s final weeks, when markets are typically more subdued.