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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last 24 hours,

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

National Bank profit climbs on strength in personal, commercial banking: Quebec’s economy is on a roll and the National Bank of Canada took advantage of rosy conditions in the third quarter, reporting a 7-per-cent rise in profit driven by strong personal and commercial banking results. Total bank profits reached $608-million, outpacing analysts’ expectations, while earnings from retail banking rose 11 per cent to $277-million. The bank’s financial-markets arm also posted record returns from trading, making the most of volatile market conditions. Story (James Bradshaw)

HSBC to cut fees, offer rebates to struggling small firms as Hong Kong teeters on verge of recession: HSBC said on Wednesday it will offer rebates and fee reductions for small and medium-sized companies in Hong Kong, as the city’s economy struggles. Hong Kong is on the verge of its first recession in a decade, weighed down by the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and months of anti-government protests that have spread across the territory, disrupting traffic, scaring away tourists and paralysing shopping areas. Story (Reuters)

DEALS NEWS: MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS, IPOs and FINANCINGS

WSP acquires U.S. environmental consulting firm as rival SNC wins Australian contract: WSP Global Inc., the Canadian engineering firm working on many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, is buying U.S. environmental consulting firm Ecology and Environment Inc. as it bulks up its expertise and headcount in a new growth push.The move comes as crosstown rival SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced it had won what it called “a significant” engineering services contract on Australia’s Inland Rail project, a 1,700-kilometre freight rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane. The company provided no details on the contract value. Story (Nicolas Van Praet)

Hudson’s Bay selling Lord & Taylor banner amid privatization battle: Hudson’s Bay Co. is selling its Lord & Taylor banner to fashion rental service Le Tote Inc., a move that comes as the Canadian retailer is in the midst of a battle over its future. San Francisco-based Le Tote has agreed to buy the Lord & Taylor brand and its inventory and to take over operation of its digital properties and 38 stores in the United States. Story (Susan Krashinsky Robertson)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Financial literacy classes welcomed in schools amid student desire for money skills: A course in financial securities seemed like just the class to round out Anjana Somasundaram’s final semester of high school. With years worth of economic reading and workshops under her belt, and an application to Western University’s Ivey Business school in progress, the 18-year-old felt the lessons would complement her education while equipping her with the tools to make savvy personal financial decisions. Story (Canadian Press)

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