"According to Deutsche Bank's calculations, 82% of the S&P 500 companies to report so far have beaten second-quarter earnings expectations. The snag is that only 50% have beaten sales targets.
For the moment, earnings are only being held up by costs shrinking fast alongside revenue. For a true recovery, sales need to start growing, too. Rising unemployment may make that harder to achieve."
I've been pointing out that a large number of companies have been "beating" the estimates through staff reductions and forced retirement comps. This is not an environment where there is a clear picture on the economy; let along staffing needs. As confidence as slowly risen so the risk carry trade. Until there is a fundamental shift in growth and the economy, consumers will continue to be quite thrifty. That declines the need for further staffing. While staffing may enter bare bones levels, with more current employees working more hours as work flow improves. However, new hires face a challenging economy with very little head ways into the second half point.
Thus continued weakness in firms such as Manpower, Adecco, and Robert Half International will continue as this financial bubble continues to unwind.