The number of class-action securities lawsuits filed in 2004 increased 17 percent to 212, up from 181 in the prior year, while the decline in aggregate market capitalization as a result of the litigation nearly tripled from the year-ago period, according to a recent report.

The decline in market capitalization of defendant companies, known as the "disclosure dollar loss," nearly tripled, to $169 billion for cases filed in 2004, according to a report issued by Stanford Law School and Cornerstone Research. The DDL is measured from the trading day just before the end of the class-action period to the trading day immediately after the end of the period.

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