The burgeoning market for mergers is reflective of a lack of organic growth opportunities, cheap capital, and flush corporate coffers. Additionally, elevated stock prices provide buyers with a strong currency and sellers with a reason to cash in, which helps explain why M&A activity has tended to peak around market tops, most recently in 2007, and before that in 2000. So while the pace of deals may be a sign that CEOs and their boards are more confident about their prospects for growth, investors should be aware that their timing of late has been less than prescient. For those investors tempted to pick the next takeover target, the safer bet may be on the Wall Street bankers who are doing the matchmaking and financing. They always get paid.
Three top Wall Street strategists shared their predictions on the future performance of global financial markets with the CFA Society Toronto recently. While guardedly optimistic, they included calls for slow growth, increased volatility, and a return for active management.
As 2013 comes to a close, we took a look back at, and highlight below, some of the stories that captured the attention of investors and helped to set the trend for global equity markets over the past 12 months. With the notable exception of emerging markets, it was (as of this writing) a year of impressive gains for most major stock markets, particularly in light of what has been a persistently sluggish economic backdrop.
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