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


RBC CEO sees ‘challenging’ years ahead as profits slip at Canada’s largest bank: Royal Bank of Canada is starting to feel the sting of slowing economic growth and trade, as fourth-quarter profit slipped and its chief executive officer warned of “challenging” days ahead. Story (James Bradshaw)

National Bank hikes dividend as profit tops forecasts: National Bank of Canada increased its fiscal fourth-quarter profit by 7 per cent and raised its quarterly dividend. Story (James Bradshaw)

Laurentian Bank reports lower fourth-quarter profit: Laurentian Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported that its fourth-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago. Story (The Canadian Press)

Baker bid for HBC as good as it gets, head of specal committee says: Over the course of two days in August, long-time Hudson’s Bay Co. director David Leith met with the retailer’s largest shareholders to hear their plans for turning around the struggling 350-year-old company. A few of them were radical. Story (Andrew Willis and David Milstead)

‘We still score, we still win’: Schwarzman offers insight on the alternative asseet industry: Don’t tell Stephen Schwarzman there is too much money chasing too few deals. The co-founder, chairman and chief executive of alternative asset manager Blackstone Group Inc. has US$148-billion of client capital he needs to put to use – an almost unimaginable amount of what’s known in the industry as dry powder. Mr. Schwarzman is confident the New York-based company can invest it all, and earn handsome profits. Story (Andrew Willis)


Telus to buy German call-centre business, considers IPO for international arm: Telus Corp. is buying a German business-services company for $1.3-billion through its Telus International unit, which the Canadian telecom company is considering taking public. Story (Alexandra Posadzki)

Infrastructure Bank pledges up to $300-million for port expansion near Montreal: Plans for a major South Shore expansion of the Port of Montreal received a boost Wednesday of up to $300-million from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Story (Bill Curry and Nicolas Van Praet)

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