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Citadel L.L.C. is one of the world's largest hedge fund managers, managing over $20 bn in equity investments. The firm manages the Kensington Global Strategies, Ltd., Pioneer Path, Ltd. and the Wellington Partners, L.P. The firm has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and London.

Investment strategy: Citadel L.L.C. utilizes multiple investment strategies in making investments in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The firm's research efforts predominately rely on quantitative and fundamental analysis. The managers meet with corporate management and work with analysts from the Street prior to making investments. Citadel uses leverage on various positions to maximize return.

The following is a list of its top 15 buys in the last quarter, as released in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC.

Stock

Symbol

Shares Held - 12/31/2010

Shares Held - 03/31/2011

Google Inc

GOOG

704,599

1,134,870

PNC Financial Services Group Inc

PNC

262,461

3,669,941

MetLife Inc

MET

278,559

4,707,822

The Chubb Corporation

CB

325,598

2,959,462

Lowe's Companies Inc

LOW

3,011,805

8,877,637

Fifth Third Bancorp

FITB

26,032

11,135,102

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc

GS

59,327

994,724

Ensco Plc

ESV

1,272,297

3,532,903

The Home Depot Inc

HD

538,366

3,582,968

Nielsen Holdings NV

NLSN

0

3,971,469

Noble Energy Inc

NBL

242,856

1,364,239

Ross Stores Inc

ROST

1,101,296

2,488,332

Maxim Integrated Products Inc

MXIM

18,926

3,671,511

Microsoft Corporation

MSFT

647,246

4,277,260

American Express Company

AXP

1,408,568

3,332,159

Here are some of the specifics about these companies, including a brief description of their business, growth expectations (top line and bottom line) and Valuation:

Google Inc.

Citadel bought 430,271 shares of Google Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 1,134,870 shares. This position is 2.96% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $593.97 on 31 December 2010 to $586.76 on 31 March.

Google Inc. is focused on improving the ways people connect with information. The company generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising. The company focuses on areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, and enterprise. Google’s EPS forecast for the current year is $29.6 and next year is $33.92. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 25.80% in the current year and 20.50% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 15.28. Out of 40 analysts covering the company, 35 are positive and have buy ratings and five have hold ratings.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Citadel bought 3,407,480 shares of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 3,669,941 shares. This position is 1.03% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $60.72 on 31 December 2010 to $62.99 on 31 March.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is a diversified financial services company in the United States. PNC is engaged in retail banking, corporate and institutional banking, asset management, and residential mortgage banking, providing many of its products and services nationally and others in its geographic markets located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Virginia, Missouri, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. PNC’s EPS forecast for the current year is $5.97 and next year is $6.51. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 4.80% in the current year and grow 1.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 9.61. Out of 32 analysts covering the company, 26 are positive and have buy ratings and six have hold ratings.

MetLife, Inc.

Citadel bought shares of 4,429,263 MetLife, Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 4,707,822 shares. This position is 0.94% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $44.44 on 31 December 2010 to $44.73 on 31 March.

MetLife, Inc. is a provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife operates in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. MetLife’s EPS forecast for the current year is $5.22 and next year is $5.83. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 22.30% in the current year and 5.60% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 7.45. Out of 21 analysts covering the company, 18 are positive and have buy ratings and three have hold ratings.

The Chubb Corporation

Citadel bought 2,633,864 shares of The Chubb Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 2,959,462 shares. This position is 0.81% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $59.64 on 31 December 2010 to $61.31 on 31 March.

The Chubb Corporation is a holding company for a family of property and casualty insurance companies known as the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (the P&C Group). The P&C Group is divided into three business units: Chubb Personal Insurance, Chubb Commercial Insurance and Chubb Specialty Insurance. The Chubb’s EPS forecast for the current year is $5.6 and next year is $5.85. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 2.20% in the current year and 2.40% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 11.08. Out of 22 analysts covering the company, nine are positive and have buy ratings, 11 have hold ratings and two have sell ratings.

Lowe's Companies Inc.

Citadel bought 5,865,832 shares of Lowe's Companies Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 8,877,637 shares. This position is 1.04% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $25.08 on 31 December 2010 to $26.43 on 31 March.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a home improvement retailer. As of January 29, 2010, the company operated 1,710 stores, consisted of 1,694 stores across 50 United States and 16 stores in Canada. Its 1,710 stores represent approximately 193 million square feet of retail selling space. Lowe’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.64 and next year is $1.91. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 3.60% in the current year and 2.90% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.42. Out of 26 analysts covering the company, 15 are positive and have buy ratings, 10 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Fifth Third Bancorp

Citadel bought 11,109,070 shares of Fifth Third Bancorp last quarter and now holds a total of 11,135,102 shares. This position is 0.69% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $14.68 on 31 December 2010 to $13.89 on 31 March.

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company. The Bancorp operates in four business segments: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Investment Advisors. Fifth Third Bancorp’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.15 and next year is $1.44. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to decline 6.60% in the current year and grow 4.30% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 8.98. Out of 31 analysts covering the company, 17 are positive and have buy ratings, 13 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Citadel bought 935,397 shares of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 994,724 shares. This position is 0.7% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $168.16 on 31 December 2010 to $158.6 on 31 March.

Goldman Sachs is global investment banking, securities and investment management company providing a range of financial services to a client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Goldman’s EPS forecast for the current year is $14.44 and for the next year is $19.06. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 7.60% in the current year and 5.90% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 7.14. Out of 25 analysts covering the company, 17 are positive and have buy ratings and eight have hold ratings.

Ensco plc

Citadel bought 2,260,606 shares of Ensco Plc last quarter and now holds a total of 3,532,903 shares. This position is 0.91% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $53.38 on 31 December 2010 to $57.84 on 31 March.

Ensco plc, formerly Ensco International plc, is a global offshore contract drilling company. The company’s business operates in four segments: Deepwater, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa and North and South America. Each of its four operating segments provides one service, contract drilling. Ensco’ EPS forecast for the current year is $3.58 and next year is $5.5. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 4.50% in the current year and 27.80% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 9.87. Out of 37 analysts covering the company, 25 are positive and have buy ratings and 12 have hold ratings.

The Home Depot Inc.

Citadel bought 3,044,602 shares of The Home Depot Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 3,582,968 shares. This position is 0.59% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $35.06 on 31 December 2010 to $37.06 on 31 March.

The Home Depot, Inc. is a home improvement retailer. The Home Depot stores sell an assortment of building materials, home improvement and lawn and garden products and provide a number of services. The Home Depot stores average approximately 105,000 square feet of enclosed space, with approximately 24,000 additional square feet of outside garden area. Home Depot’s EPS forecast for the current year is $2.32 and for the next year is $2.67. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 2.40% in the current year and 3.60% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 13.26. Out of 28 analysts covering the company, 16 are positive and have buy ratings, 11 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

Nielsen Holdings NV

Citadel bought 3,971,469 shares of Nielsen Holdings NV last and now holds a total of 3,971,469 shares. This position is 0.48% of its portfolio. The share price of the company on 31 March is $27.31.

Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company. The company provides clients with an understanding of consumers and consumer behaviour. It delivers critical media and marketing information, analytics and industry expertise about what consumers buy and what consumers watch (consumer interaction with television, online and mobile) on a global and local basis. Nielsen’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.51 and next year is $1.83. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 7.40% in the current year and 5.90% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 16.95. Out of nine analysts covering the company, seven are positive and have buy ratings and two have hold ratings.

Noble Energy Inc.

Citadel bought 1,121,383 shares of Noble Energy Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 1,364,239 shares in the company. This position is 0.59% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $86.08 on 31 December 2010 to $96.65 on 31 March.

Noble Energy, Inc. is an independent energy company, which is engaged in the oil and gas exploration and production worldwide. The company has operations in four main areas: The Central DJ Basin onshore United States; the deepwater Gulf of Mexico; offshore West Africa, and offshore Eastern Mediterranean. Noble’s EPS forecast for the current year is $5.01 and for the next year is $6.71. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 20.40% in the current year and 22.40% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 13.49. Out of 25 analysts covering the company, 13 are positive and have buy ratings and 12 have hold ratings.

Ross Stores Inc.

Citadel bought 1,387,036 shares of Ross Stores Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 2,488,332 shares. This position is 0.79% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $63.25 on 31 December 2010 to $71.12 on 31 March.

Ross Stores, Inc. operates two chains of off-price retail apparel and home accessories stores. As of January 30, 2010, the company operated a total of 1,005 stores, of which 953 were Ross Dress for Less locations in 27 states and Guam and 52 were dd’s Discounts stores in four states. Both chains target women and men between the ages of 18 and 54. Ross’ EPS forecast for the current year is $5.36 and for the next year is $5.99. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 7.30% in the current year and 7.40% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 13.48. Out of 21 analysts covering the stock, seven are positive and have buy ratings and 14 have hold ratings.

Maxim Integrated Products Inc.

Citadel bought 3,652,585 shares of Maxim Integrated Products Inc. last quarter and now holds a total of 3,671,511 shares in the company. This position is 0.42% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $23.62 on 31 December 2010 to $25.6 on 31 March.

Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures and markets a range of linear and mixed-signal integrated circuits, commonly referred to as analog circuits, for a large number of customers in diverse geographical locations. Maxim’s linear and mixed signal products serve four end-markets: industrial, communications, consumer and computing. Maxim’s EPS forecast for the current year is $1.7 and for the next year is $1.83. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 23.80% in the current year and 6.00% the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 14.44. Out of 25 analysts covering the company, 11 are positive and have buy ratings, 11 have hold ratings and three have sell ratings.

Microsoft Corporation

Citadel bought 3,630,014 shares of Microsoft Corporation last quarter and now holds a total of 4,277,260 shares. This position is 0.48% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has decreased from $27.91 on 31 December 2010 to $25.39 on 31 March.

Microsoft Corporation is engaged in developing, manufacturing, licensing and supporting a range of software products and services for different types of computing devices. Microsoft’s EPS forecast for the current year is $2.58 and next year is $2.77. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 11.70% in the current year and 6.40% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 8.91. Out of 35 analysts covering the company, 24 are positive and have buy ratings, 10 have hold ratings and one has a sell rating.

American Express Company

Citadel bought 1,923,591 shares of American Express Company last quarter and now holds a total of 3,332,159 shares in the company. This position is 0.67% of its portfolio. The share price of the company has increased from $42.92 on 31 December 2010 to $45.2 on 31 March.

American Express Company is a bank holding company. Its principal products and services are charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services offered to consumers and businesses. American Express has four segments: U.S. Card Services, International Card Services, Global Commercial Services, and Global Network & Merchant Service. American Express’ EPS forecast for the current year is $3.82 and for the next year is $4.15. According to consensus estimates, its top line is expected to grow 6.30% in the current year and 7.30% in the next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 12.32. Out of 23 analysts covering the stock, 16 are positive and have buy ratings, five have hold ratings and two have sell ratings.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Top 15 Buys of Citadel LLC