The labor market continues to witness low levels of unemployment and robust job creation, fueled by an economy that remains resilient from increased levels of corporate spending brought about by business-friendly tax cuts. Investors will be eagerly awaiting April's employment report scheduled for release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. EDT today for an update on the employment situation and to see if the data backs up the particularly strong April ADP private-sector payrolls number released earlier this week. Analysts expect nonfarm payrolls for last month to total 181,000 – down from 196,000 in March – and the unemployment rate to remain steady at 3.8%.
UBS Group economist Robert Martin anticipates that jobs created in April rose by an above-consensus 228,000 positions. "Firms do not hire aggressively when risks of a downturn are elevated but tend to make up for those shortfalls when fears abate," Martin said, per Yahoo! Finance.
Staffing stocks rely on the health of the labor market to drive their top- and bottom-line growth. Therefore, traders should keep a close eye on how these three industry leaders respond to the data and consider employing the tactics outlined below.
Robert Half International Inc. (RHI)
Robert Half International Inc. (RHI) provides staffing and risk consulting services in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. It primarily offers solutions to corporations seeking employees in finance, accounting and technology. Despite missing analysts' first quarter earnings and revenue expectations, the recruitment giant's earnings increased by 19.2% compared to the same quarter last year due to revenue growth in its staffing and Protiviti operations during the period. In February, the company increased its quarterly cash dividend from 28 cents per share to 31 cents. It pays a forward dividend yield of 2%. As of May 3, 2019, Robert Half stock has a market capitalization of $7.14 billion and is up 7.74% on the year.
The company's shares traded down more than 10% on April 24 after it reported quarterly results before paring some of those losses to close the day down 8.42%. Ironically, the stock found support at $61 after closing a gap created from better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings on Jan. 30. Those who take a long position should look for a move back to the March and April highs at the $59 level. Cut losses if the price falls below the Jan. 23 low at $58.41.
Insperity, Inc. (NSP)
With a market value of $4.94 billion, Insperity, Inc. (NSP) specializes in providing human resources (HR) and business solutions to enhance business performance. Some of the services offered by the Houston-based company include payroll and employment administration, employee compensation, government compliance, performance management, and training and development services. The staffing specialist targets small and medium-sized customers in the United States. Insperity saw its year-over-year (YoY) first quarter earnings grow 40.4% thanks to worksite employee growth and effective management of pricing, direct cost programs and operating costs. The company's shares pay a 0.97% dividend yield and have jumped 28.62% year to date (YTD), outperforming the industry average by 4.24% over the same period as of May 3, 2019.
Insperity shares have oscillated within a descending channel since gapping up more than 10% on Feb. 11 after the company exceeded analysts' fourth quarter earnings projections. More recently, the stock has retraced toward the channel's lower trendline that provides a suitable entry point at a crucial support level. Traders who buy here should anticipate a move to the channel's upper trendline, with a plan to exit between $128 and $130. Place a stop-loss order slightly below the closing price of the April 29 wide-ranging day ($116.27) caused by first quarter earnings.
Korn Ferry (KFY)
Previously known as Korn/Ferry International, Korn Ferry (KFY) offers a range of talent management solutions, specializing in filling mid- to high-level management positions. The company, founded 50 years ago, operates through three business segments: Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep. Korn Ferry reported a 6% YoY increase in fiscal third quarter 2019 revenue and a 16% YoY increase in adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS), driven by organic growth in all segments. Analysts have a 12-month price target on the stock at $59 – a 26.50% premium to Thursday's $46.64 close. As of May 3, 2019, Korn Ferry stock has a $2.63 billion market cap and sports a YTD gain of 18.21%. Investors receive a 0.89% dividend yield.
Shares in the talent management leader trended sharply higher throughout January and February but have since traded sideways as buyers and sellers fight for control. A pullback over the past week returns the stock to an uptrend line that stretches back to the bear market low in late December 2018. Zooming in further on price action, an ascending triangle that has formed over the past two months suggests a continuation of the early 2019 uptrend. Buyers of the stock should look for it to test $49 – an area where the price may encounter resistance from a horizontal line and the 200-day simple moving average (SMA). Think about positioning a stop just under the uptrend line.