BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Atticus Capital isn't your typical hedge fund. Founded by a former NHL prospect turned Harvard MBA and a member of the Rothschild family, this fund's management is nearly as unique as its investment strategy. That unique atmosphere has done well to deliver impressive gains. Despite large losses in the wake of 2008's market crash, Atticus is resurging with new capital and new positions, hoping to replicate its pre-crash success.

Bankrolled by co-chairman Nathanial Rothschild's well-connected rolodex, Atticus Capital had the honor of being called one of the largest hedge funds on the market, tipping the scales at $20 billion under management back in 2007. The fund was known for buying large, concentrated positions in stocks with favorable macro stories, and management became renowned for its activist approach to investing; then-portfolio manager Timothy Barakett and his team are credited with having prompted more than a few high profile mergers.

What's perhaps most interesting for Atticus Capital are the jumbo-sized positions that the fund undertakes. While those large bets fueled Atticus' massive gains during the bull markets of the mid 2000s, they also contributed to the fund's large losses in 2008. After earning back around 95% of his clients' funds in 2009, Barakett retired from his portfolio management role, closing two of the firm's biggest funds to spend more time with his family. But Atticus Capital's reign over Wall Street is far from over.

Now, with a renewed investment focus, manager David Slager is working to rebuild Atticus' assets under management once again. And his moves might just be worth watching in 2010.

Here's this week's look at three stocks that Atticus Capital added to its portfolio in the most recent quarter.
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From its roots as an over-the-counter energy exchange in 2000, IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE) has grown into one of the largest derivatives marketplaces in the world. That, in turn has transformed this business into an incredibly profitable one. With net margins that rang in at more than 30% last year, ICE was able to make substantial profits as financial institutions sought to buy the securities that trade through it.

Acquisitions have been a key part of ICE's strategy for some time. The firm made waves in 2007 when it acquired the New York Board of Trade and the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange, gaining control of significant derivative volume and its own North American clearinghouses. Those clearinghouses give ICE's customers some peace of mind -- after all, they act as intermediaries holding the financial contracts being traded -- but they also guarantee that ICE gets in on both sides of a trade, an important benefit for an exchange that specializes in over-the-counter securities like derivatives.

Continued financial regulation may well be IntercontinentalExchange's key to growth in the next decade. As new regulations clamp down on the use of riskier investments, firms such as ICE, which provide investors with a sort of endorsement on the security's validity, should be major beneficiaries. Atticus Capital bought a $32.5 million stake in ICE last quarter.

McDonald's ( MCD) has been on a tear this year, climbing nearly 12% in a market that's still churning in negative territory. That's largely been the result of an effort on management's part to change consumers' views of the fast-food giant, shifting its focus from greasy supersized items to higher-margin premium offerings such as specialty coffee drinks and salads. The efforts appear to be working -- McDonald's has seen same-store sales and margin growth both creep higher in the last year.

Stable, recession-resistant cash flows and a relatively generous dividend payout have gotten investors excited about the Big Mac maker. At present, McDonald's pays out a dividend yield of 3.15%, more than double the industry average. And those dividends aren't static: In the last five years, McDonald's has increased the size of its shareholder checks by 30%, three times its competitors' average increase.

Ultimately, this fast-food stock should continue to be a leader in a space that's attractive to investors during good markets and bad. Atticus Capital's management agrees; the fund added McDonald's to its portfolio with a $19.98 million stake.
Who Else Owns McDonald's?

Despite a number of production delays, the orders continue to roll in on Boeing's ( BA) 787 Dreamliner. That's a markedly different scenario than the aerospace giant was facing just a couple years ago, as failing airlines couldn't afford to pony up for new additions to their fleets. But the 787 offers something special to the airlines with incredibly increased efficiency, and as of yet, the offering is unrivaled by the likes of top fleet competitor Airbus.

But consumers would do well not to forget Boeing's military prowess as a major defense contractor. Boeing is first in line to win the contract for the Air Force's KC-X aerial refueling program, a $35 billion contract that would make a significant impact on the company's top line. Its challenge will be keeping costs down as the fixed price contract threatens to eat away at Boeing's margins.

While Boeing's sales took a hit back in 2008, an immense backlog offers investors a cushion when times get tough. Likewise, Boeing's co-dominance in the civil aviation market give the firm diversification that the other major defense firms have skirted away from in the past. Atticus took on a $14.75 million stake in Boeing last quarter.
Who Else Owns Boeing?

To see the rest of Atticus Capital's plays, check out the Atticus Capital Portfolio on Stockpickr.


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At the time of publication, author had no position in stocks mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on