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Manpower Shares Surge Higher

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Shares of ManpowerGroup Inc. (MAN - Free Report) hit a new 52-week high of $85.84 on Dec 23, eventually closing at $85.60. Apart from strong third-quarter 2013 results and an upbeat guidance, the stock has been performing well, backed by the efficient services it provides as well as its competitive position in the market. Notably, this global staffing and outsourcing company amassed a year-to-date return of 96.8%.

The average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months was approximately 483.3K. Moreover, the company currently trades at a forward P/E of 20.3x, a 13.2% discount to the peer group average of 23.4x. The last traded price is 0.8% below the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $86.25, indicating further upside potential. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated earnings per share growth rate is 12.7%, at par with the peer group average. At present, Manpower sports a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Manpower’s wide range of services makes it a true global staffing firm. The company provides services for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment, employee assessment and selection, training, outplacement, outsourcing and consulting. The company’s brand value and strong global network provide it a competitive advantage and reinforces its dominant position in the market. The company leverages a well-established network across 80 countries and serves approximately 400,000 clients.

Moreover, Manpower benefits from growth prospects in the underpenetrated staffing markets of Italy, Germany and the Nordic region, and has significant operations in high-growth emerging markets of India and China. Consequently, the company has strong upside potential.

On the other end, Manpower remains focused on exiting lower-margin businesses and venturing into high-margin ones. We believe the company’s restructuring initiatives will lead to higher savings and consequently higher earnings.

Looking at the past performance, we remain impressed by the company’s fourth consecutive earnings beat in the trailing four quarters, with an average surprise of 22.9%, based on a recovery in the economy and effective cost management. Moreover, earnings estimate revisions for Manpower have been on an upward trend following the company’s healthy third-quarter 2013 results. In the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose 3.7% for 2013, while it increased 2.0% for 2014.

We believe that the company’s strategic initiatives toward lowering costs and driving margins position it well to sustain growth momentum in 2013 and beyond.

Apart from Manpower, companies such as Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI - Free Report) , The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN - Free Report) and Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR - Free Report) achieved new 52-week highs of $28.83, $89.40 and $38.87, respectively, on Dec 23, 2013.

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