Federal class action securities fraud filings continued at near record levels in the first half of this year, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research, “Securities Class Action Filings: 2018 Midyear Assessment.” Since midyear 2016, plaintiffs have filed more than 750 federal securities class actions, the most prolific 24-month period since enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.After a sharp decline in the second half of 2017, core filings increased 28%. Nine mega disclosure dollar loss (DDL) filings (those with at least $5 billion) and 11 mega maximum dollar loss (MDL) filings (at least $10 billion) lifted market capitalization losses to levels not seen since 2002.
In the first half of this year, plaintiffs filed 204 new federal class action securities fraud cases, twice the 1997-2017 semiannual historical average. Core filings, those excluding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) claims, increased 28% in the first half of 2018. M&A claims decreased nearly 9%.
DDL was $157 billion, 162% higher than the historical average. MDL was $643 billion, more than double the historical average.
In the U.S., 4.6% of exchange-listed companies were the subject of core filings in the first half of the year. Core filings against S&P 500 firms in the first half of the year occurred at an annualized rate of 9.6%, the highest since 2002.