US mergers and acquisitions activity fell off a cliff in 2017. The value of deals this year has been about half what it was in 2015 and 2016, and about a third lower than 2014. Chart from CreditSights:Some of this was to be expected. We’re told that executives tend to be cautious in the first year of a new administration because they want to get a feel for how regulations and antitrust enforcement might change. (You can’t see that clearly on this chart because 2009 coincided with the cyclical nadir of the US economy and financial markets…) This was likely exacerbated by heightened uncertainty over trade and tax policy.Barring a few notable exceptions, however, the US government seems to be just as accommodating to the desires of big business as the Obama administration. Analysts at
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US mergers and acquisitions activity fell off a cliff in 2017. The value of deals this year...