After three years of significant growth, federal securities class actions dropped off slightly in 2009 — a sign that the flurry of activity spurred by the credit crisis has died down.

NERA Economic Consulting has predicted that federal securities class action filings will top out at 235 in 2009, down by 7 percent from the 253 filed in 2008. Another securities class action tracker, the Stanford Securities Class Action Clearinghouse and Cornerstone Research, does not release its annual report until the year is over, but its tally showed 169 filings as of mid-December, compared to 223 filings for all of 2008. That would represent a 24 percent decrease.

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