The Week In Stock Buybacks (DELL, CROX, XOM, UNH, HNT, IMMR, ACXM, HAR, ATI, AYI, EPIC)

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This might not be that unusual for a volatile week during earnings season, but this was a fairly active week for share buyback news announcements.  Some are new and some are continuations or expansions.  There is no way to cover all the share buybacks during earnings season, and we screened out the micro-cap stocks.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is perhaps the biggest buyback coming down the pipe after this month.  It will now be clear to resume its major stock buyback now that it has become compliant again with having its restatement complete and SEC filings current. Dell even said it expects to resume its share repurchase program shortly after it reports its results for the third quarter (so after 11/29).  Goldman Sachs added Dell to its Conviction Buy List at the expense of H-P (NYSE:HPQ).

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) missed earnings expectations but noted that during the quarter, the company repurchased roughly 90 million shares of its own stock for about $7.8 billion.

CROCS Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX) authorized a 1 million share buyback planafter Thursday’s major stock drop.  The board must have said, "Evenwith ugly shoes, these buyback things that companies have announcedseem to be well received by traders."  After traders sent CROX to the Everglades, the company might as well just save its cash.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ATI) Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program of $500 million, and it increased ATI’s quarterly dividend by nearly 40% to $0.18 per share.  This is after a dismal earnings number.

Immersion Corp. (NASDAQ:IMMR) board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $50 million of the company’s common stock (nearly 3 million shares at current prices, with 30.1 million shares outstanding as of 10/31).  If the company lives up to it, that is an impressive buyback plan.  Unfortunately its earnings are quite spotty and expected to be that way ahead.

Epicor Software Corp. (NASDAQ:EPIC) Board of Directors has authorized up to $50 million for a buyback plan of its Common Stock that can be repurchased from time to time.

Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE:AYI) completed the spin-off of Zep Inc. (NYSE: ZEP) to the stockholders of Acuity Brands. Effective October 31, 2007, the Board of Directors of Acuity Brands authorized the repurchase of an additional 2,000,000 shares, or almost 5%, of its common stock. Also, Acuity has authorization to buy back a remaining 811,400 shares of outstanding common stock under the repurchase program announced in August of this year.  Baird just upgraded the company.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) at the Board of Directors’ regular quarterly meeting, held on October 30, 2007 renewed and increased its Stock Repurchase Program up to 210 million shares of the company’s common stock. This includes approximately 50 million shares remaining under the previous buyback plan; at September 30, 2007 the Company had approximately 1.3 billion common shares of stock outstanding.

Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) board of directors approved a $250 million increase to the company’s share repurchase program. The company launched its share repurchase program in May 2002 with an initial authorization of $250 million.  On October 16, 2006, Health Net announced that its board of directors increased the size of the stock repurchase program to $450 million and now Health Net has approximately $346 million in remaining repurchase authority.

PACCAR’s (NASDAQ:PCAR) Board of Directors approved the repurchase of $300 million of its outstanding common stock. PACCAR has invested $978 million to repurchase 27.4 million shares and paid $1.73 billion in dividends during the last three years.

Harman International (NYSE:HAR) announced that it has repurchased4,775,549 shares of its common stock under separate accelerated sharerepurchase programs for a total purchase price of approximately $400million.  After a failed merger, what choices are there?

Acxiom Corp. (NASDAQ:ACXM) board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $75 million of the company’s common stock over the next 12 months.  After a failed merger, what choices are there?

Jon C. Ogg
November 2, 2007