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Top 3 Business Stories of the Day

McDonald’s Corporation will announce its first quarter 2014 earnings today. After the company’s disappointing performance last year, there is much skepticism surrounding its upcoming earnings. The company has been struggling to record good comparable sales figures. After a mere 20 basis point rise in comparable sales in 2013, it rose 1.4% in January, only to drop to -0.3% in February. Moreover, the rising commodity costs and relentless competition in the breakfast business may further lead to thinning margins. Harley-Davidson's first-quarter earnings rose 18.7 percent as motorcycle sales grew worldwide and efficiency efforts took hold. The Milwaukee company says global sales of new motorcycles grew 5.8 percent in the quarter as buyers responded to its new models. Its shares rose more than 7 percent in pre-market trading. Harley-Davidson posted net income of $265.9 million, up from $224.1 million a year ago. Motorcycle and related products revenue rose 11 percent to $1.57 billion. Yesterday in a move that returned attention to healthcare takeovers, Bill Ackman, CEO of the hedge fund Pershing Square Capital, announced a bold and unusual move by partnering with pharmaceutical company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to acquire a major stake in another biotech. In this case it is Allergan AGN, the makers of the injectable wrinkle-remover BOTOX, and several ophthalmic treatments. This morning the healthcare landscape restructures further as Novartis AG announced that it will purchase GlaxoSmithKline's cancer-drug business for $14.5 billion and will sell most of its vaccine business to GSK for $7.1 billion plus royalties

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