M&A activity in the fourth quarter seemed to break the spell of four consecutive quarters of decline in both deal value and deal volume. Canadian and global trends moved in close parallel, posting results that resembled Q2 2013 yet were significantly better than Q3. While most of the activity in Q3 focused on asset sales and strategic investments, activity in Q4 was more balanced between these objectives and some opportunistic deals that might be expected in a depressed market.
Coal transactions reappeared and became a strong influence in the quarter. Copper and gold prices continued to show a stabilizing trend that began mid-year, and only the TSX/S&P Global Gold Index seemed to be drawn downward as the year ended.