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The biggest financial stories of the first half of 2014

As we approach the halfway point of 2014, here’s a quick run-down of some of the biggest ongoing stories that dominated the discussion around financial markets.

High-frequency flare-up

The decline and fall of Wall Street trading

The tech-stock tumble

  • Amid a largely unexplained shift in sentiment, the froth in US technology stock markets fizzled fast earlier this year, prompting a sharp selloff in technology shares that disrupted what had been otherwise a successful run for tech stock IPOs.

The valuation bubble

Settlement surge

Inversion invasion

  • M&A is booming. According to Dealogic there were $1.7 trillion worth of deals announced through mid-June, topping the $1.2 trillion announced over the same period last year. Behind much of the recent surge has been a spate of so-called tax-inversion deals, in which companies seek mergers with entities in low-tax countries in order to take advantage of a US tax loophole. The US-based medical device company Medtronic’s $42-billion merger with the Ireland-based Covidien became the largest company to seek a tax inversion. That party may be over soon though: Regulators appear acutely interested in doing something to stop the flood of corporate tax revenue out of the US.

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