Business Highlights

By The Associated Press Markets Associated Press

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$69B Aetna bid pushes CVS deeper into consumers' lives

CVS Health says its $69-billion acquisition of the insurer Aetna will help create a customer "front door" to health care through the chain's network of nearly 10,000 stores. The companies plan to expand the health services offered through CVS locations and get more involved in managing care. The deal announced Sunday must pass anti-trust scrutiny.

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Those tax breaks in the GOP plan? Enjoy them while they last

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has touted his tax overhaul as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Yet the plan Senate Republicans have embraced could force lawmakers to rewrite the tax code repeatedly for years to come. The main reason is that some of its key planks are set to expire in several years, thereby forcing a future Congress to decide whether to renew them. The tax cuts for individuals and families? They'd vanish after eight years.

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Bag the mistletoe, cut the booze: Office parties sober up

NEW YORK (AP) — With the names of Weinstein, Spacey and Lauer likely to be more often repeated than Dancer, Prancer and Blitzen at office holiday parties this year, employers are making sure their year-end staff merrymaking doesn't generate more inappropriate conduct. There will be less booze at many. An independent business organization has renewed its annual warning not to hang mistletoe. And some will have party monitors, keeping an eye out for bad behavior.

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GOP senator says comments on estate tax misinterpreted

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Republican senator says his comments were misinterpreted when he defended GOP efforts to scale back the federal estate taxes because it helps those who invest rather than people who spend their money on "booze or women or movies." Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley says his point regarding the estate tax was taken out of context and the government shouldn't "seize the fruits of someone's lifetime of labor after they die."

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High court hints it could side with state on sports betting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is indicating a willingness to side with New Jersey's effort to permit sports gambling in a case being closely watched by states interested in allowing betting on sports. The justices heard arguments Monday in a case where New Jersey is challenging a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. One report says that if the justices strike down the law, 32 states would likely offer sports betting within five years.

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In wake of Weinstein, men wonder if hugging women still OK

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With sexual harassment allegations being brought against some of the nation's most high-profile men seemingly every day, average guys have begun to wonder whether it is still OK to hug a female colleague. Or to tell her how nice her hair looks. Or ask her about her weekend.

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AP FACT CHECK: Net-neutrality claims leave out key context

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's telecom chief has put out incomplete and misleading talking points when he suggested that internet providers had never influenced content available to customers before net neutrality rules he's trying to repeal took effect in 2015. Iffy claims have come from the other side of the debate, too, such as the notion that federal regulators had never stepped in to make providers change service plans. Regulators were possibly on track to do so when the new administration stopped a probe.

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Barkin tapped as next president of Richmond Fed bank

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve's Richmond regional bank is announcing that Thomas Barkin, a senior executive at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., will be the bank's next president. He will succeed Jeffrey Lacker, who resigned as the bank's president in April after revealing his involvement in a leak of confidential information in 2012 that had triggered congressional and criminal investigations.

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McDonald's revives Dollar Menu name with $1, $2 and $3 items

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dollar Menu is making a McComeback. McDonald's says it is reviving the name of the once-popular value menu next month, but this time the items will cost $1, $2 or $3. The world's biggest hamburger chain has become more reliant on deals to win customers back from other low-priced chains. In October, it attributed a rise in a key sales figure to its $1 sodas and a two-for-$5 promotion called McPick 2.

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Slump for tech stocks overshadows gains by telecoms, banks

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes didn't do much at first glance on Monday, but the seemingly modest moves masked dramatic changes roiling underneath the surface. Telecom stocks and other areas of the market that stand to benefit the most from Washington's drive to cut corporate tax rates jumped. At the same time, technology stocks slumped sharply and gave up some of the gains that have made them the best-performing area of the market this year by far.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 dipped 2.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,639.44. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58.46, or 0.2 percent, to 24,290.05, and the Nasdaq composite fell 72.22, or 1.1 percent, to 6,775.37. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 4.61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,532.41.

Benchmark U.S. crude slumped 89 cents to settle at $57.47 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.28 to $62.45 a barrel in London. Natural gas lost 8 cents to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil lost 5 cents to $1.89 per gallon and wholesale gasoline dropped 5 cents to $1.69 per gallon.