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Tyson buys Hillshire; Idenix shares surge; McDonald's sales mixed

Hot Stock Minute

Here is a look at some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today

Hillshire Brands (HSH) stock rose in the premarket. Tyson Foods (TSN) won the bidding war to buy the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages for $63 a share. Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) said it doesn't plan to make a counter offer for Hillshire after it bid $55 a share last week to buy the company.

A deal also surfaced in the pharmaceuticals industry this morning. Merck (MRK) said it would buy biotech firm Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) for $24.50 a share in cash, which values the deal at nearly $4 billion. The combination will help Merck increase its pipeline of hepatitis C drugs.

Family Dollar (FDO) shares jumped before the bell after billionaire investor Carl Icahn became the largest shareholder of the discount retailer. In a regulatory filing late Friday, Icahn disclosed he now owns a 9.4% stake in the company. He said he may talk to the company about "strategic alternatives" in order to help boost its value. Investors also bought up shares of Dollar General (DG) in early trading amid speculation Icahn could push for a merger with Family Dollar.

Apple’s (AAPL) 7-for-1 stock split went into effect today. The stock split allows the company to issue more stock to shareholders. It also makes the shares more appealing to retail investors because it brings down the price of the stock. It's Apple first stock split since 2005.

McDonald’s (MCD) reported that global same-store sales rose 0.9%. That was slightly better than analysts' estimates, thanks mainly to strong demand in China. But U.S. same-stores sales fell 1% as it continues to struggle to find growth in its home market.

Amazon (AMZN) is launching an online payment service today called Amazon Payments. The company's 240 million customers can use credit card information they've used to make purchases with Amazon, to make purchases with companies who have signed up for the service. It extends a existing service that allows customers to use credit card information they have on file with Amazon to make payments on third-party e-commerce sites. The new service allows customers to make subscription or recurring payments. Amazon is trying to appeal to small businesses and start-ups whose potential customers may be reluctant to give credit card information to an unknown company. Amazon charges a fee to the merchant for each transaction.