Stocks With Insider Buying, Buybacks: Deere

Large repurchases make Deere and Pediatrix stocks to watch.
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Updated from 7:01 a.m. EDT

One of the primary goals of Stockpickr.com is to allow everyday investors to see what the big guns are buying. Often we see a big-name investor loading up on a particular stock. This is usually a good sign because you know that person put a lot of time and due diligence into that process. Plus, high-profile investors have bankers, lawyers and consultants breaking down the business every which way imaginable.

The real icing on the cake is when that same company announces that an insider has purchased a large chunk of stock or, even better, when the board initiates a new, large share-buyback program.

That's why each Thursday at Stockpickr we update the

Top 10 Insider Purchases and Buybacks

portfolio, featuring the stocks that in the last week had either big insider purchases or newly announced buybacks, as well as super investors accumulating shares.

Deere

(DE) - Get Report

is in this week's portfolio. The leading producer of tractors and combines added $5 billion to its common stock buyback program. This new repurchase comes on top of an existing 40 million-share repurchase plan, which was authorized in May 2007 and currently has about 23 million shares remaining. As of April 30, the company had about 430 million shares outstanding.

The Moline, Ill.-based company also enlarged its quarterly dividend 3 cents, or 12%, to 28 cents a share.

"These actions show our commitment to creating superior long-term value for investors," said Robert W. Lane, chairman and CEO. "They reflect our continuing confidence in the company's future direction and its ability to generate the cash flow to fund future growth opportunities while also returning cash directly to shareholders."

Deere reported second-quarter earnings that reached record levels fueled by strong global growth. Net income jumped 28% to $763.5 million, or $1.74 a share, from $623.6 million, or $1.36 a share. Revenue propelled 18% to a record of $8.1 billion on international sales that grew 46%. Overall, Deere's business is performing remarkably even though the U.S. economy is weakening.

Analysts from Credit Suisse like Deere and reiterated their outperform rating on the stock. They also increased the price target from $98 to $102, which represents 25% upside potential from current levels. International sales of farm equipment will continue to push earnings higher, said analysts.

Navellier & Associates

is a noteworthy fund that owns Deere. This $3.8 billion fund is run by Louis Navellier, who has been dedicated to finding and exploiting inefficiencies in the stock market since 1980. The firm's other top holdings are

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

and

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

.

Blackstone's hedge fund,

Blackstone Kailix Advisors

, is also putting its money in Deere. In addition, the fund recently added

Mirant

(MIR)

and

Rockwood Holdings

(ROC)

to its portfolio.

So we have a buyback, record earnings, increased price targets as well as an outperform rating, and two well-known firms into the stock. It may be time to take a closer look at Deere.

Next on the list is

Pediatrix Medical Group

(PDX)

. The nation's leading provider of maternal-fetal, newborn and pediatric physician services announced that it completed a $100 million buyback program that had been authorized in December 2007.

Lower-than-expected birth rates hurt the company's first-quarter earnings, which came in at $55.8 million, or $1.14 a share, compared with net income of $24.5 million, or 51 cents a share, earned in the same period last year. The result missed the street's expectation, and shares plunged 17%. Total revenue was $245.6 million, an increase of 16% from the year-ago period, but it missed analysts' expectation of $251.3 million.

"We continue to grow our business, with solid contributions from acquisitions and ongoing improvements in reimbursement from third-party payors during this most recent quarter, and these results reflect our ability to continue to manage our operations with increased efficiency," said Roger J. Medel, CEO of Pediatrix.

Jefferies has a buy rating on the Ft. Lauderdale-based company and urges investors to pick up some shares on the unique buying opportunity. Jefferies set its price target at $68.

It's also good to see that

Renaissance Technologies

is investing in Pediatrix. Its $5 billion Medallion Fund has averaged 38% annual returns, after fees, since 1989, and is considered in the industry to be the most successful hedge fund. It also owns

Kellogg

(K) - Get Report

and

Humana

(HUM) - Get Report

.

So we have a buyback, a buy rating and a highly regarded firm into the stock. It might be time to take advantage of the buying opportunity.

Finally, we have

Chemed

(CHE) - Get Report

making this week's list. The company, which operates Vitas Healthcare, a hospice service and a Roto-Rooter plumbing company, said that it will add $100 million to its buyback program. The buyback, which represents almost an eighth of the company's market value, will be funded with cash from operations, free cash flow and some credit. Timing of the repurchases will depend on market conditions.

After the Cincinnati-based company revealed first-quarter profit that only grew by 4%, shares sunk to a four-year low. The company said for the quarter ending March 31 it earned $16.8 million, or 70 cents a share, up from $16.2 million, or 63 cents a share, in the same period last year. This result missed the street's expectation of 83 cents a share.

Analyst Michael Wiederhorn from Oppenheimer believes that "the company is best served by using its cash flow to repurchase its stock at these attractive levels. We note that while the company had a weak first quarter, FCF remained strong at $36 million." He added that the stock repurchase could add as much as $0.30 cents to EPS. Oppenheimer has a buy rating and $45 price target for the stock.

It's also good to see that

Tygh Capital Management

believes in Chemed. Tygh Capital Management is an independent, employee-owned investment firm that specializes in small-cap and small-mid-cap growth investing for institutions. The firm's other top stock picks are

Euronet Worldwide

(EEFT) - Get Report

and

Hologic

(HOLX) - Get Report

.

Another owner of Chemed stock worth mentioning is

David J. Greene and Company

. The investment firm was started in 1938 and currently manages approximately $2.5 billion. It finds investment opportunities by researching situations intensively and seeing the facts in ways others do not. The firm is also putting its money in

Molson Coors

(TAP) - Get Report

and

Skyworks Solutions

(SWKS) - Get Report

.

So we have a buyback, a buy rating and two famous investment firms into the stock. It might be time to do some homework on Chemed.

For more stocks and analysis, check out this week's

Top 10 Insider Purchases and Buybacks

at Stockpickr.com.

For the 10 most recent portfolios, check out:

You can also review

Barron's Top Insider Purchases

from the prior week and Jim Cramer's

"Mad Money" Buybacks

.

At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

James Altucher is president of

Stockpickr

LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com and part of its network of Web properties, and a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs a fund of hedge funds. He is also a weekly columnist for the

Financial Times

and the author of

Trade Like a Hedge Fund

,

Trade Like Warren Buffett

and

SuperCa$h

. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback;

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