51job Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Chinese human resources and staffing company 51job (Nasdaq: JOBS  ) soared 14% after its fourth-quarter results and first-quarter 2012 forecast topped expectations.

So what: For the quarter, the longtime Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick posted a profit of $0.61 on a 23% rise in revenue. This crushed Wall Street's consensus expectation for a profit of $0.53. Gross margin also expanded to 71.2% from 65.4% in the year-ago period. For the first quarter of 2012, 51job anticipates that revenue will range from $59.6 million to $62 million and EPS will fall between $0.65 and $0.70 -- well above the $56.4 million and $0.61 analysts had been looking for.

Now what: I'm sorry, did someone say China's economy was slowing? 51job's results certainly don't seem to signify that's happening. The fourth quarter saw the company increase the number of unique users of its services by 11% and continued to demonstrate why it was a Rule Breakers selection in the first place. Valued at just 16 times forward earnings, yet with a five-year projected growth rate of 22%, 51job, at least to me, looks cheaper than ever. I think I found a new company to add to my watchlist!

Craving more input? Start by adding 51job to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of 51job. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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