Investors are on the edge of their collective seats, hoping that Spherion (NYSE: SFN) will top analyst expectations for the fourth consecutive quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, July 27. Spherion is a strategic workforce solutions provider.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: The majority of analysts back Spherion as a buy. But with 66.7% of analysts rating it a buy, Spherion is still below the mean analyst rating of its nearest 10 competitors, which average 73.3% buys. Analysts don't like Spherion as much as competitor TrueBlue overall. Eight out of nine analysts rate TrueBlue a buy compared with four of six for Spherion. While analysts still rate the stock a moderate buy, they are a little more optimistic about it compared with three months ago.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $532.5 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 3.6% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.13 per share. Estimates range from $0.12 to $0.14.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock, with 98.9% assigning it an "outperform" rating. The community at large concurs with the All-Stars, with 92.7% granting it a rating of "outperform." Fools are gung-ho about Spherion, though the message boards have been quiet lately, with only 76 posts in the past 30 days. Despite the majority sentiment in favor of Spherion, the stock has a middling CAPS rating of three out of five stars.

Management:
Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows gross, operating, and net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2
Gross Margin 19.7% 22.2% 21.4% 20.5%
Operating Margin 0.9% 3.1% 2% 1%
Net Margin 0.5% 1.7% 1.1% 0.5%
One final thing: If you want to keep tabs on Spherion's movements, and for more analysis on the company, make sure you add it to your Watchlist.

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