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GE locomotive business to merge with Wabtec, Fifth Third to buy MB Financial, Microsoft makes move to improve AI voice

Here’s a look at some of the companies the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you.

General Electric (GE) confirms that it’s merging its locomotive business with Wabtac in an $11B deal. The merger is expected to generate more than $6B in cumulative free cash flow between 2019 and 2022. It’s the largest deal yet for GE’s CEO John Flannery.

Fifth Third Bank (FITB) says it’s buying MB Financial for around $4.7B. The stock-and-cash deal is a 24% premium to MB’s closing price Friday, and will give Fifth Third dozens more branches in Chicago. Fifth Third’s CEO said he expects the investment to generate an internal rate of return of nearly 19% in the first year.

Microsoft (MSFT) wants its Cortana bot to sound more human than Alexa and Siri. The tech giant says it bought artificial intelligence startup Semantic Machines for an undisclosed sum. Semantic has been designing AI that can understand conversations and give accurate answers, something it says all the voice assistants struggle to do.

Sticking with bots, Nvidia (NVDA) is training them to learn new behaviors just by watching. The chipmaker says it’s testing new tech that allows non-experts to teach robots new commands simply by showing them. An Nvidia researcher tells VentureBeat, this could bring down the cost of re-programming robots.