Robert Half Hits 52-Week High on Quarterly Dividend Hike - Analyst Blog

Shares of Robert Half International, Inc.RHI reached a 52-week high of $63.27 on Mar 20, 2015. Investors' confidence got a boost after the company announced hike in quarterly dividends on Feb 11.

In fact, shares have been gaining momentum since the company reported better-than-expected fourth quarter and 2014 results and provided a favorable outlook on Jan 29. Shares of this leading staffing firm eventually closed at $62.95, amassing a year-to-date return of 9.1%.

Growth Drivers

On Mar 13, 2015, the company paid a quarterly dividend of 20 cents to its shareholders of record as of Feb 25. The quarterly dividend paid was 11.1% higher than the previous dividend of 18 cents. The new dividend, announced on Feb 11, equates to an annual dividend of 80 cents. The annual dividend yield comes to 1.3%. Robert Half has been regularly rewarding shareholders with dividend payments. In February last year, the company hiked its quarterly dividend by 12.5%.

Besides its cash deployment strategies, the company has been performing well on consistently rising demand for staffing services. Apart from witnessing increasing demand for its professional staffing services in the U.S, the company's international operations have also been improving since the first quarter of 2014, driven by permanent placement services.

With an improvement in economic conditions and job markets in the U.S., the company also experienced a rise in the demand for temporary workers in 2014. In fact, more and more companies are using temporary and consulting professionals as a permanent part of their human resources mix. Also, according to the Affordable Care Act, America's temporary workforce will continue to grow, going ahead. More than half of the new job growth predicted through 2020 is expected to come from this arena.

The company is also very optimistic on its upcoming quarter results, and has issued favorable earnings and sales guidance for the first quarter of 2015. Robert Half expects revenues in the range of $1.195-$1.245 billion for the first quarter, representing an increase from $1.08 billion last year. The company also expects earnings in the range of 53 cents-58 cents per share as against 45 cents during the comparable period last year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015 increased 2.7% to $2.67 over the last 60 days. For the first quarter of 2015, the Zacks Consensus Estimate increased 3.6% to 57 cents over the same timeframe.

Robert Half carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other Stocks to Consider

Other better-ranked companies in the business services sector include Insperity Inc. NSP , TrueBlue, Inc. TBI and Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. CCRN . While Insperity and TrueBlue sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cross Country holds a Zacks Rank #2.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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