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Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Mulling the ups and downs of the year so far.

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.