I am not recommending a position for MAN. This is my own observation of the valuation for Manpower (MAN). Please do your own research regarding the investment of any equities or bonds.
It is really amazing the run that the temporary employment sector has taken. However is this run up justified when revenue is still down double digits compared to its year over year comps. And down significantly over a two year period.
Take note of the following :
- Manpower's p/e is at one of the industry's high. This stock trades at multiples much higher then the S&P. This as Manpower's revenue and net income have taken an extremely hard hit.
Manpower for the fourth quarter has already warned that their estimates will come in below estimates. This comes as analyst have not raised Manpower's estimates that far from the median. The notion that Manpower is unable to meet already low expectations speaks volumes with regards to the condition of the macro economy.
There's talk of how management has been managing Manpower beat the industry with its superior management. I tend to disagree when your revenue and net income have taken a significant hit for the past couple of years, along with the baggage of significant debt on its balance sheet. If we are in for another dip in the economy as a number of economist have suggested, credit conditions will become increasingly tight. Already there is worry concerning the 2010 pending tax increase, and pending health care costs forced by the government.
- PEG ratio. Normally a PEG ratio near 1 means that a stock will have a higher chance at out performing. However MAN is at a significant premium based on the PEG ratio alone. MAN trades at over 8x the mean, while the industry is trading at 3x multiples. This is a significant premium to pay for a company that has declining revenue, and net income, and increasing debt.
- P/B. The price to book looks cheaper compared to the industry. However when you look at the Manpower's historical p/e ratio it has not significantly traded higher to its current multiples. And that is with significantly higher sales, and revenue. S&P which had changed their metrics of evaluating MAN from P/E to P/B, downgraded their rating to SELL, and lowered it price target to 46.
So I would trend very carefully as employment will not rocket back with a vengeance. Consumers have not significantly increased their spending, and manufacturing has ticked down. There are many issues in the economy that continues to need to be resolved before employment stocks begin to look attractive again.