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Securities class action filings to make run at 20-year high

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Driven in large part by an increase in filings related to mergers and acquisitions, the number of federal securities class action lawsuits filed during the first half of this year rose 16.7%, to 119 filings, from the same period last year, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The number of M&A-related filings increased to 24 in this year's first half — the most since 2010, Boston-based Cornerstone Research and the Palo Alto, California-based Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse said in an analysis. That compares with eight M&A-related filings for the first half of 2015.

An annualized number of filings of 238 for 2016 would be a 27% increase over the 1997-2015 historical average of 188 filings, according to the report, “Securities Class Action Filings, 2016 Midyear Assessment.”

“If filings continue at the same pace for the remainder of 2016, this year would be the first since 2008 to have distinctly above-average filing activity and would have the second-highest number of filings in the last 20 years — trailing only 242 in 1986,” according to the report.