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Whale Watching: Bill Ackman

McDonald’s and Target – two stocks that surged Thursday – are both held by Wall Street Whale and activist investor Bill Ackman. Does he have the Midas touch, or are the moves merely coincidental?

Ackman has a 9.6% stake in Target (TGT) and a 1.6% stake in McDonald’s (MCD). The news that sold TGT up was that the company said it may sell its credit card business, which is an item long-known to be high on Ackman’s agenda. The retailer seems to be responding to him, Karen Finerman said. But she thinks the McDonald’s dividend is “an old story for Ackman.”

Jeff Macke is skeptical that there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the investor and the decisions made at the very top of the company. Macke likes both stories, but Ackman is “hardly infallible,” he said.

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Trader disclosure: On Sept. 13, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders: Najarian is Long Build-A-Bear, is short Goldman Sachs (GS); Finerman is short Leap Wireless.

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