NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes have been slightly higher in early afternoon trading investors sized 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.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional analysts are estimating that the Republican Senate tax bill would increase taxes in 2019 for some 13.8 million U.S. households earning less than $200,000 a year. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation provided the analysis as the Senate's tax-writing committee begins work on its version of the tax overhaul bill. The legislation, promoted as a boon to the middle class, would steeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction, and limit or repeal completely the federal deduction for state and local property and income taxes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government began its new budget year with an October deficit of $63.2 billion, up sharply from a year ago. The Treasury Department says the October deficit was 37.9 percent higher than the $45.8 billion deficit recorded in October 2016. Both government receipts and spending were up for the month with receipts climbing 14.3 percent to $235.3 billion, a record for the month of October.

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric has slashed its dividend in half, to 12 cents, 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. 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.

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.