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 staffing company ManpowerGroup
So what: Strong hiring in Asia helped the company surpass expectations and turn around a big loss last year. The company reported earnings of $63.6 million, or $0.78 per share. After stripping out one-time costs, as analysts do in their expectations, earnings were $0.98 per share, topping the $0.91 per share analysts had expected.
The company did caution that slow hiring in Europe could put a damper on earnings in early 2012, as uncertainty remains the norm there.
Now what: I don't want to predict that this is a canary in the coal mine yet, but if Manpower is seeing stronger than expected earnings, then this should be good for the economy. Management may still be too timid to predict that hiring will continue in the U.S. and Europe, but I think the clouds are beginning to clear and there's good news on the horizon. Manpower's trailing P/E ratio is now 15, a decent value for a company that should benefit if the recovery has started to take hold.
Interested in more info on ManpowerGroup? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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