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Number of securities class action cases reaches highest level since 2008

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The number of federal securities class action cases filed against businesses reached its highest level last year since 2008, says a survey issued Monday.

Securities class action cases totaled 234, which was an 8% increase over 2014's 216 and 6% higher than the average rate of the preceding five years, according to the annual survey issued by the New York-based NERA Economic Consulting, in its report, “Recent Trends in Securities Class action Litigation: 2015 Full-year Review.”

The 234 federal securities class action suits filed in 2015 represent about 4.4% of the 5,305 companies listed on major U.S. securities exchanges as of October 2015, said the report.

The report said filings continue to be concentrated in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ninth Circuit filings grew by more than 58% to 76 filings from 48 in 2014, while 2nd Circuit filings, which totaled 59, have remained relatively steady of the past five years, according to the survey.

More than one out of every five securities class action cases in 2015 were filed in the electric technology and technology services sector, which eclipsed those in any other sector, according to the survey.

Among other survey findings, about 22% of filings contained accounting allegations, down from 29% in 2014, which correlates with both a short- and long-term reduction in cases with accounting co-defendants. Most complaints include a wide variety of allegations, said the report.