Robert Half (RHI) to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in Store?

Robert Half International, Inc.RHI is set to report fourth-quarter 2016 results after the market closes on Jan 26. Last quarter, this global staffing firm posted a positive earnings surprise of 1.43%.

Robert Half has delivered positive earnings surprises in two quarters, a negative surprise in another and in-line earnings in the remaining one of the last four quarters, resulting in an average positive surprise of 0.03%.

Let's see how things are shaping up prior to this announcement.

Robert Half International Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Robert Half International Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Robert Half International Inc. Quote

Factors to Consider

Estimates have largely remained unchanged ahead of the company's fourth-quarter earnings release. Robert Half International is the world's largest specialized provider of temporary and permanent personnel in the fields of accounting and finance. Robert Half's total revenue has been growing driven by higher demand for its professional staffing and consulting services, owing to improved labor markets, low unemployment in numerous professional occupations and improved economic backdrop in many of its non-U.S. markets. The company's international operations also improved, particularly backed by higher demand for staffing and consulting services.

However, earnings were hurt in the preceding quarter as the company's clients took longer to make hiring decisions. Also, we note that the U.S. economy added fewer-than-expected jobs in September, which added to the concerns. Further, Shrinking margins were responsible for the earnings decline. Nevertheless, the company has been witnessing rising demand for staffing services owing to an improving U.S. economic scenario as well as a growing labor market.

In fact, Robert Half has been exhibiting a bullish run on the index since the past six months. Specifically, shares of this global staffing firm have been trending higher since the company reported its third-quarter 2016 results. We note that in the said period the stock increased 19.4% in comparison to the Zacks categorized Business Services industry, which showcased growth of just 0.6%. Notably, the broader Business Services sector is placed at the bottom 25% of the Zacks Classified sectors (12 out of 16).

Protiviti also has an impressive growth outlook due to a robust regulatory environment and increased need for stronger internal controls and data security measures. However, lower margins, especially at Protiviti, are expected to take a toll on profits.

In the fourth quarter, Robert Half expects revenues in the range of $1.250-$1.310 billion, compared with the year-ago revenues of $1.30 billion on a reported basis. It expects earnings in the range of 60-66 cents per share, compared with the year-ago earnings of 71 cents.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Robert Half is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they're reported with our Earnings ESP Filter . That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP : Earnings ESP for Robert Half is -1.56% as the Most Accurate estimate of 63 cents is lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents.

Zacks Rank : Robert Half's Zacks Rank #2 when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Stocks in the consumer staples sector that have both a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank, and are therefore worth considering include:

Sanderson Farms, Inc. SAFM with an Earnings ESP of +5.97% and a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Altria Group, Inc. MO with an Earnings ESP of +1.49% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Campbell Soup Company CPB with an Earnings ESP of +1.15% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Campbell Soup Company (CPB): Free Stock Analysis Report

Altria Group (MO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Robert Half International Inc. (RHI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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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