but the current surge in stock prices could portend a revival.

A modest $8.1 billion worth of combinations was announced in the third quarter, according to the latest American Banker compilation of M&A transactions. (See tables beginning on page 22.) That's down sharply from $24 billion in the year-earlier quarter. And in stark contrast to the megamergers of last year, the largest was the $2 billion agreement by Dime Bancorp of New York to acquire Hudson United Bancorp of Mahwah, N.J.

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