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Top of the Morning – Food Price Remain High

Euro Rises as France, Germany Unveil Plan (Reuters)

The euro rose to its highest in more than a week versus the dollar on Monday, supported by a renewed German and French pledge to unveil a comprehensive plan by the end of the month to rescue the region from a sovereign debt crisis.

Greek Banks Fall After the Greece Financial Stability Fund was Activated (MarketWatch)

Greek bank shares were under pressure Monday and were among the Stoxx 600 index’s top decliners, as the Bank of Greece announced it had activated the Financial Stability Fund to save small lender Proton Bank, effectively nationalizing it.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)

Belgium Agrees to Buy Dexia SA (DEXB) for $5.4 Billion (Bloomberg)

Belgium agreed to buy the local consumer-lending unit of Dexia SA (DEXB), ending a 15-year cross-border experiment with France after the European debt crisis deepened. The Belgian federal government will pay 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) for the division and guarantee 60 percent of a so-called bad bank to be set up for Dexia’s troubled assets, Finance Minister Didier Reynders said at a press conference in Brussels today after a weekend of talks.

Online Banks Boom as Brick and Mortar Banks Up Fees (MSNBC)

While thousands of Americans unleash their anger at big banks in protests around the country, many more are registering their dissatisfaction at their keyboards. In the wake of Bank of America‘s announcement that it is adding a new $5 monthly fee for debit card use, online-only banks are seeing a wave of new business. On Friday PerkStreet Financial had twice as many new customers sign up as usual. The next day even more users signed up.

Wal-Mart Stores in China Close Over Pork Scandal (Reuters)

Some Wal-Mart stores in the southwest city of Chongqing will close temporarily following accusations they sold ordinary pork as organic pork, Wal-Mart said on Monday. “We have agreed to temporarily close some stores in Chongqing for 15 days. We believe this will allow us to complete comprehensive actions to upgrade the standards in these Chongqing stores,” Wal-Mart said in a statement.

FAO Says Food Prices Will Remain High (Bloomberg)

Food prices will likely remain high and fluctuating as demand rises because of economic growth, a growing population and greater use of fuel made from crops, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Qatari Investor Pays Over € 1 Billion for KBC Group’s Private Banking Division (MercuryNews)

A buyer from Qatar agreed to buy the private banking division of Belgium’s KBC Group for just over euro1 billion Monday, adding to the wealthy Arab nation’s growing portfolio of European holdings.

Sinopec Buys Daylight Energy for $2.1 Billion (Businessweek)

China Petrochemical Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner, agreed to buy Daylight Energy Ltd. for C$2.2 billion ($2.1 billion) in its largest acquisition this year, gaining Canadian oil and shale-gas reserves. The state-owned company known as Sinopec Group offered C$10.08 a share in cash, Calgary, Alberta-based Daylight said yesterday.

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