FINANCIAL MARKETS

Investors sizing up corporate deal news

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes have been veering slightly higher as investors size up a batch of corporate deal news. Mattel soared on a report that Hasbro offered to buy the rival toymaker. Consumer and household goods companies posted some of the biggest gains, offsetting losses by industrial and energy stocks.

At 12:43 p.m. Eastern Time, The S&P 500 was up 2 points, to 2,584.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 17 points, to 23,439.

And the Nasdaq was up 5 points to 6,756.

CONGRESS-TAXES

Trump barges into tax debate, seeks deeper cut for wealthy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is barging into congressional Republicans' carefully calibrated work on revamping the nation's tax code, calling for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Americans and pressing to add a contentious health care change to the mix.

In a tweet, Trump commended GOP leaders for getting the tax overhaul legislation closer to passage in recent weeks and said, "Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?"

That puts him at odds with the House legislation that leaves the top rate at 39.6 percent and the Senate bill as written, with the top rate at 38.5 percent.

Trump also said, "Now how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular individual mandate in (Obama)care and reducing taxes even further?"

TRUMP-HEALTH SECRETARY

Trump names former drug exec as new health secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former president of Eli Lilly's U.S. affiliate, Alex Azar, has been picked by President Donald Trump to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, Azar would oversee a $1-trillion department responsible for major health insurance programs, medical research, food and drug safety, and public health.

Azar is seen as an expert on government health care regulation.

BROADCOM-QUALCOMM

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

NEW YORK (AP) — Qualcomm has rejected an unsolicited, $103 billion offer from Broadcom, saying that the proposal is significantly undervalued and that a tie-up between the massive chipmakers would face substantial regulatory resistance.

Qualcomm says it's in a unique position to grow on its own.

Broadcom's bid last week represented a 28 percent premium over the closing price of Qualcomm shares on November 2, but analysts were expecting Qualcomm to reject the $70-per-share bid.

Broadcom says it remains committed to pursuing a deal.

GE-INVESTOR DAY

General Electric to slash its quarterly dividend in half

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric has slashed its dividend in half and will attempt to vastly narrow its focus to three key sectors — aviation, health care and energy — as the conglomerate with early ties to Thomas Edison considers shedding even its historic lighting business.

The company also pulled back on profit expectations today and shares slumped 5 percent in midday trading, pulling he entire industrial sector lower as well.

New Chairman and CEO John Flannery says the company is weighing the future of its transportation, industrial, and lighting businesses so that it can focus more intently on its most profitable divisions.

GE's quarterly dividend is being cut to 12 cents to bring payouts to shareholders closer in line with the amount of money that the company is bringing in. According to S&P Global, GE will save $4 billion a year.

GATES-ALZHEIMER'S DONATION

Bill Gates gives $50 million to combat Alzheimer's

SEATTLE (AP) — Bill Gates says he's giving $50 million to help fight Alzheimer's disease.

The Microsoft co-founder says that the donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund is personal and not through his charitable foundation.

The London-based private fund is backed by government, charities and pharmaceutical firms and seeks new treatments for the progressive, irreversible neurological disease.

In a statement, Gates says men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer's. He says he's hopeful that in time Alzheimer's could be a chronic condition treatable with medication.

Gates says the first treatments for the disease might not be feasible for a decade or more and would initially be expensive. He says the Gates Foundation might consider how to expand access in poorer countries when treatments are developed.

BROOKFIELD-GGP

Brookfield offers to buy GGP stake for more than $14B

CHICAGO (AP) — Brookfield Property Partners offering $14 billion to buy the remaining shares of mall owner GGP that it doesn't already own.

Brookfield currently owns about 34 percent of GGP.

GGP Inc. says it received an unsolicited proposal from Brookfield Property Partners LP on Saturday. The offer would give each GGP shareholder $23 in cash per share or 0.9656 of a limited partnership unit of Brookfield.

GGP says that a special committee will review the proposal. The company, which owns high-end malls near Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Water Tower Place in Chicago, where it is based, emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2010 with help from Brookfield.

GGP's stock surged more than 8 percent in premarket trading.

BREXIT

Business chiefs from EU, UK ask May to speed up Brexit talks

LONDON (AP) — Business leaders from both sides of the English Channel are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to accelerate talks on Britain's exit from the European Union as uncertainty about future trade relations threatens jobs and investment.

European business leaders are urging Britain to make concrete proposals on the so-called divorce issues so the negotiations can move forward. The EU has refused to discuss trade until there is agreement on Britain's financial obligations, citizens' rights and the Irish border.

Industry groups from Germany, France, Britain and other EU countries deployed representatives to London amid concern that time is running out to ensure more than 550 billion pounds ($719 billion) of trade keeps flowing smoothly after the U.K. leaves the bloc in March 2019. They want a transitional period during which Britain would remain in the European single market and customs union so companies could adjust to the new relationship after Brexit.

RUSSIA-MAGNITSKY

Russia pressing charges against financier Browder

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian investigators are pressing new charges against financier William Browder, a British citizen who has spearheaded a law targeting Russian officials over human rights abuses.

Russia's state television's top weekly news show says the charges relate to the alleged illegal funneling of funds.

Late Sunday's show featured Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika alleging that Browder used the allegedly illegal proceeds to sponsor the 2012 U.S. law that imposed travel bans and froze assets of dozen of Russian officials.

TRAVEL-WORLD'S FAIR

Minnesota, Poland and Argentina compete to host World's Fair

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota is hoping to host the first World's Fair on U.S. soil in nearly 40 years, but it will have to overcome bids by Poland's third-largest city, Lodz, and the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires when a winner is selected in the coming days.

The events that introduced the world to the Eiffel Tower, Space Needle and Ferris Wheel have lost some of their cultural relevance in an age of globalization and cheap air travel. But World's Fairs — now referred to as World Expos for the largest events held every five years and as specialized expos for smaller ones in other years — still draw millions of visitors and allow hosts to show off.

The Bureau of International Expositions will choose the site of the 2022 or 2023 specialized expo on Wednesday in Paris. Minnesota's theme is health and wellness, Lodz's is the reinvention of cities and Buenos Aires' highlights creative industries in the digital era.