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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Charles River Associates, Heidrick & Struggles International, Robert Half International, Insperity and Clean Harbors

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 12, 2019 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Charles River Associates (CRAI - Free Report) , Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (HSII - Free Report) , Robert Half International Inc. (RHI - Free Report) , Insperity, Inc. (NSP) and Clean Harbors, Inc. (CLH - Free Report) . 

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Business Services Stocks to Defy Slump in Job Gains

February’s job additions, which came in well below expectations, sparked fresh concerns that the U.S. economy is slowing. More alarmingly, job gains recorded were the lowest in 17 months. At the same time, the slowdown needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is because seasonal fluctuations need to be taken into consideration.

Job gains for most industries remained largely flat, except construction, which experienced significant job losses. But standing tall was health, and professional and business services.

Incidentally, professional and business services have contributed the highest number of jobs in the past 12 months. This is why it makes sense to add stocks from this domain to your portfolio.

Smallest Job Additions in 17 Months

The U.S. economy added merely 20,000 jobs in February, well below the consensus estimate of 186,000 jobs. This, in itself, is far less than January’s upwardly revised figure of 311,000. Further, this is the lowest number of jobs that the U.S. economy has added since September 2017.

To put things in perspective, the economy has been adding an average number of 200,000 jobs over the past year. So despite February’s slump, the rate of hiring remains firm enough to push unemployment lower.

This was visible in February when the unemployment rate declined from 4% to 3.8%. The primary reason for this is that government workers rejoined the workforce at the end of the partial government shutdown.

Business Services Contributes Maximum Jobs

Construction was a major casualty of such a weak report, recording 31,000 job losses during the month. This partially negates the addition of 53,000 jobs in January. Heavy and civil engineering construction lost 13,000 jobs. Wholesale trade contributed 11,000 jobs, while manufacturing added a paltry 4,000.

Job additions for the other major industries such as leisure and hospitality, retail trade, mining, transportation and warehousing remained largely flat. Healthcare was one of the few industries to make a major contribution, adding 21,000 jobs.

But leading the pack once again in February was professional and business services with 42,000 job additions. This is more or less in keeping with its average monthly contribution over the past 12 months. This implies that the industry is still the leader as far as job gains over the past year are concerned.

Our Choices

According to most economists, one poor jobs report should not be a cause for concern. Of course, fears of an economic slowdown could flare up. But it pays to keep in mind that unexpected fluctuations are par for the course since the cessation of the government shutdown.

Overall professional and business services have provided the highest number of job additions over the past 12 months. Adding stocks from this industry looks like a smart choice at this point. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score. 

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks, each of which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a good VGM Score. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Charles River Associates provides legal, regulatory, business consulting and other expert services through its specialized consultants across the globe.

Charles River has a VGM Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.7% over the last 30 days. 

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. is a provider of leadership consulting, culture shaping and senior-level executive search services.

Heidrick & Struggles has a VGM Score of A. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 3%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 6.6% over the last 30 days.   

Robert Half International Inc. is one of the world’s largest providers of temporary staffing, project professionals and permanent placement services to the finance and accounting industries.

Robert Half has a VGM Score of B. The company’s expected earnings growth for the current year is 13%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.1% over the last 60 days. 

Insperity, Inc. is an integrated human resources and business solutions provider.

Insperity has a VGM Score of B. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 23%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased by 7.5% over the last 30 days. 

Clean Harbors, Inc. is a leading provider of environmental, energy and industrial services in North America.

Clean Harbors has a VGM Score of B. The company’s projected growth rate for the current year is 32.3%.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 7.1% over the last 30 days.   

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019

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See Latest Stocks Today >>

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.



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