Dealmakers polled in May predicted that M&A in financial services, insurance and real estate (FIRE) will increase over the coming year, according to Mergers & Acquisitions' Mid-Market Pulse (MMP). (See related graphic.)

But survey participants were not as enthusiastic as they were when last polled about the sector in November, immediately following the mid-term elections. At that time, many survey participants said they believed Republican control of Congress would lessen regulation of the financial services industry, thereby boosting their hopes for the sector.

In May, however, some participants expressed concern that a slowing economy and a potential hike in interest rates would slow M&A expansion in financial services. Reflecting those concerns, the sector's latest Composite Scores of 74.9 for the three-month outlook and 75.3 for the 12-month forecast are lower than the previous scores of 79.3 and 87.2.

The MMP is a forward-looking sentiment indicator derived from monthly surveys of approximately 250 executives published in partnership with McGladrey LLP. Previous sector forecasts include manufacturinghealth careenergyconsumer goods and retail and TMT.

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