The recovery since the start of the crisis has been patchy with many regions, including much of Europe and Japan, still struggling to show any economic growth.

Even so, there are some bright spots, according to the Ernst & Young survey. In Brazil, for example, the firm found that 45 percent of executives there plan to make a deal over the coming year. That compares with 29 percent in the U.S., 27 percent in the U.K. and 12 percent in Russia.

The survey found that China remains the number one investment destination, followed by India and Brazil. The U.S., the world's largest economy, is also in the top five along with Canada.

Among sectors, the survey found that technology, automotive, life sciences, consumer products and oil and gas, remain the most likely to see deal activity, with sectors such as mining and utilities bringing up the rear.

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