The litigation "explosion" that forced U.S. financial companies into courtrooms last year to defend money-losing investments and bad loans may have ended with the recovery of equity markets, Aon Corp. said.

U.S. securities class actions in the first nine months of this year fell 20% from the year earlier, to 130, with 49 claims related to the credit crisis, the Chicago-based insurance broker said Friday. These lawsuits climbed to a four-year high in 2008, with 210 cases, according to Stanford Law School and Cornerstone Research.

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