Announced U.S. merger and acquisition activity in the first half of 2017 featured more announced deals than in the first half of 2016 (up 17.3%, from 5,544 to 6,504), but less overall value (down 15.9% from $695 billion to $584 billion), according to Thomson Reuters. Global announced M&A volume was the reverse, falling 4.1% in number of deals but climbing 2.2% in total deal value.

Bottom line: We're seeing an increase in small deals and distressed deals in the U.S., but fewer takeovers of successful companies whose share prices have climbed in the longstanding bull market.

Other data notes from the Thomson Reuters report:

  • The world's largest announced deal so far in the Bennetton family's Atlantia bidding to acquire toll road operator Abertis Infrastructure. The largest U.S. deal is Becton Dickinson offering to buy CR Bard.
  • Goldman Sachs leads advisor league tables for both announced and completed M&A. This is true both globally and in the U.S.
  • Private equity activity is easily outpacing 2016, and becoming an increasing percentage of overall M&A activity. U.S. private equity activity represents over half of all global private equity activity.
  • Brazil had the largest jump in announced M&A volume year-over-year, up 382.6%.
  • Energy and power was the busiest sector for global M&A, followed by real estate, industrials and healthcare.

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are now 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days with no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 749,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and over 20.6 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,624,316 — Total deaths: 749,421— Total recoveries: 12,831,800Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,197,147 — Total deaths: 166,027 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
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  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: U.S. records deadliest coronavirus day of the summer — America's two-sided COVID-19 response
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Bob Woodward's new book details letters between Trump and Kim Jong-un

Bob Woodward during a 2019 event in Los Angele. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Journalist Bob Woodward has obtained "25 personal letters exchanged" between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his new book, "Rage," publisher Simon & Schuster revealed on Wednesday.

Details: In the letters, "Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a 'fantasy film,' as the two leaders engage in an extraordinary diplomatic minuet," according to a description of the book posted on Amazon.