Top Stocks With Insider Buying, Buybacks

Large repurchases make Schlumberger and Monsanto stocks to watch.
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Updated from 9:11 a.m. EDT

Part of the philosophy of Stockpickr is to follow in the footsteps of smart people. This could mean a few different things.

First, it could mean piggybacking great investors like Warren Buffett or George Soros. Other times it means buying what the CEOs, employees and directors of a company are buying. These are people who know the intimate details of their companies far better than you or me.

The perfect setup is when one of these company insiders or an entire board (in the case of a stock buyback) are buying shares at the same time that some smart savvy investors are as well.

Each Thursday we update the Stockpickr

Top 10 Insider Purchases and Buybacks

portfolio, featuring the stocks of the week that had either big insider purchases or newly announced buybacks as well as "smart money" accumulating shares.

For instance,

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

makes the list. Houston'soilfield services giant announced April 17 a new $8 billion buyback program,which is to be completed by December 2011. This new buyback comes ontop of a previously announced 40-million share repurchaseprogram, which as of March 31 had 3.1 million shares of purchasing power remaining.

Schlumberger recently reported first-quarter earnings that showed a 13% jump in net income. CEO Andrew Gould said the company will meet 2008 estimates and that growth will increase in the next year.

Since national oil companies from Russia and Saudi Arabia are trying to develop their own reserves and exclude international companies like

Exxon

(XOM) - Get Report

, they are depending more on oilfield service firms such as Schlumberger, according to

Bloomberg

.

Analysts at Tristone Capital liked what they saw when they looked into Schlumberger's future and awarded the stock with an outperform rating and increased their price target from $112 to $135. In a researchnote, they said the first quarter of 2008 likely will turn out to be the weakest quarter and that drilling activity is likely to pick up significantly this year.

It's also important to note that Director Philippe Camus finds value in the stock and decided to purchase 1,000 shares himself.

We like to see that

Ken Fisher

invests in Schlumberger. He runsthe $30 billion Fisher Asset Management, and he is also betting on

OccidentalPetroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

and

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get Report

.

Dodge & Cox

is another enormously successfulinvestment fund that owns Schlumberger shares. The San Francisco firm recently increasedits position in

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

and sold out of

Costco

(COST) - Get Report

.

So with Schlumberger, we have a huge buyback, solid earnings, a director buying shares, increased price targets and two well-known investors in the stock. It may be time to do some additional homework on SLB.

Next on the list is

Monsanto

(MON)

. This producer of farm products announced April 16 a new three-year, $800 million buyback plan.

The new plan will begin once the company's current repurchase program is completed or October of 2009, whichever comes first. The St. Louis-based company is more than half way through its current buyback and has repurchased a total of $429 million in common stock.

The company decided to return additional cash back to its shareholdersby increasing its quarterly dividend 40% to 17.5 cents a share. Shareholders should also be happy that Monsanto's stock has increased more than 100% in the past year.

Monsanto a few weeks ago reported stellar second-quarter earnings that more than doubled due to strong sales of weed killer and corn seeds. The company earned $1.13 billion, or $2.02 a share, compared to $543million, or 98 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue surged 45% to $3.8 billion.

We also like to see that Jefferies & Co. reiterate its buy rating on the stock. In a note, the analysts mention the increased market share gains in corn and extraordinary sales of glyphosate, a weed killer. Their price target is $140.

Duquesne Capital

holds Monsanto in its portfolio. The $4 billion investment fund started by Stanley Druckenmiller also recently bought shares of

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

.

It's also good to see that

Maverick Capital

owns Monsanto stock. The $10 billion hedge fund's newest positions are

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

and

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

.

So with Monsanto, we have a buyback, great quarterly earnings, a buy rating and two noteworthy investors into the stock. That's a solid foundation forthe stock to take off.

And finally, we find

Genentech

(DNA)

. The South San Francisco-based biotech firm on April 15 expanded its current stock-buyback plan to 150 million shares. This increases the value of the buyback by another $2 billion, to $10 billion, and extends it through June 2009.

Genentech on April 10 reported strong first-quarter earnings led by U.S. sales of its caner drugs, especially Avastin. Net income climbed 12% to $790 million, or 74 cents a share, from $706 million, or 66 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Tuesday, shares of DNA fell on news that its drug

Rituxan failed in a late-stage study for lupus

. However, Bret Holley from Oppenheimer Research believes the Street's selloff was a bit of an overreaction. He still has an outperform rating as well as an $88 price target on the stock.

Analysts from Bear Stearns, who also have an outperform rating on the stock, said they didn't "see huge downside from the news."

It's good to see that Patrick Kelly from

Alger Capital Appreciation

likes DNA. This three-star Morningstar-rated fund also holds stocks like

General Dynamics

(GD) - Get Report

and

ON Semiconductor

(ONNN)

.

Eminence Capital

is a $5 billion New York-based hedge fund that's bullish on Genentech. Its other picks include

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

Ross Stores

(ROST) - Get Report

.

So with Genentech, we have an increased buyback, strong earnings, an outperform rating and two well-known investors in the stock. It may be time to examine DNA more closely.

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 as well as 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;

click here

to send him an email.

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