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Cornerstone Weighs In on 2009

by Michael W. Stocker
Eyes On Wall Street |

Cornerstone Research today released its much-anticipated summary of securities class actions filings for 2009. As expected, the data compiled by Cornerstone reflects an overall decline in the number of securities cases filed compared to the bumper year of 2008. However, the summary highlights the fact that financial firms still make up a lion's share of new filings-underscoring the key role that the these companies played in the financial sector catastrophes of 2007 and 2008.

Cornerstone's 2009 summary reveals that 84 suits-roughly half of all filings-named financial sector defendants, well above the consumer non-cyclical sector with 33 filings and the communications sector with only 12 filings.

Although the percentage of S&P 500 index financial firms named as defendants in securities class actions dropped from 32.6 percent in 2008 to 11.5 percent in 2009, the financial firms named as defendants in 2009 still represented 39.1 percent of the sector's total market capitalization.

The report also pointed out that class action filings continue recent upward trends in the numbers of cases including Section 11 and Section 12(2) allegations, and cases naming underwriters as defendants.