The strains in the financial system in recent months have slowed from the robust growth in mergers and acquisitions earlier this year. The value of such deals as of November stood at $2.4 trillion, a 1.4% increase from the comparable period last year, according to research firm Dealogic. In the first half of the year, the M&A market was on pace for a huge surge, with merger activity through July up 16.9% from 2010. By year-end, the M&A market could be smaller than 2010's.

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