Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jobless Claims Rise to 496,000 February 2010

This has been the second consecutive week where jobless claims has risen. This week the jobless claims has risen to 496,000 from 474,000 week ending in February 20. Jobless claims continues to face challenges compared to the consensus. There has been no reason to believe that job creation will happen in an instant. That's part of the reason for this blog to outline that the economy will take years for it to change its ways for a number of reasons.
Chart Source:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dark clouds hang over U.S. small businesses

"Small business owners entered 2010 the same way they left 2009 -- depressed," the group said, noting its Small Business Optimism Index reading for January was still below the 90 mark, the dividing line between positive and negative outlooks."

"In January, small businesses had to cut prices despite tangling with inflation while profits remained weak, according to the survey of the federation's 2,114 members."

"There are "still more owners planning to reduce stocks than planning new orders," the group found."

Source: Reuters

Remember that small businesses generate most of the job creation in the United States.

Even as a number of temporary help providers have exceeded estimates, there still continues to be lax growth in sales.

Monster, Inc. announced a large acquisition of Hotjobs which I am not a fan of. They seem to have overpaid for the Hotjobs property even though it is under the price of the prior bidding war with Yahoo.

In the near term there should be underlying risk for these companies as the stimulus and low interest rates start to fade with increased regulations and reform.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Manpower Q4 2009 / Year Earnings

Manpower released their earnings this morning. They beat their 4th quarter earnings with an EPS of .48 vs .24. Revenue also beat with revenues coming it at 4.412 Billion vs. estimates of 4.160 Billion.

Estimates beat and revenue Delcine have narrowed, although still down.

Q1 2010 guidance of -.05 to -.15 vs. estimates of -.06.

After looking at today's news on Manpower it seems to be a mixed bag. I'm fairly favorable to their new acquisition of COMSYS IT Partners, Inc. The acquisition will allow MAN to jump start their sales growth. However this will come at the cost of their already ballooning debt levels. As long as MAN can improve on this cash flow then their debt will be manageable. Any downturn and MAN will continue to face challenges to its debt levels as Moody's had suggested a number of months ago.

In terms of their earnings which may be muted due to flat to slightly positive growth in their European markets. There are lots of risk involved in their European markets, especially if the PIIGS creates currency instablity for Europe. One risk that underlines this issue is a possible bailout by the IMF, or by France (Manpower's largest market) and Germany. If this situation comes to roost then the European economy may face significant hurdles. And cap privatization growth in France and Germany (Europe largest industrialized nations). While US markets continue to face challenges as taxation and reform will continue to put pressure on hiring. Slack demand has lessen any likelihood of a V shaped recovery.

Valuations will be the next topic of concern for Manpower's, even as revenue dropped less than expected year over year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Coleman Group Morgan Stanley Burlingame

It is interesting to see how internal departments facilitate operations. While looking at some of the lack of coordination and acumen with fellow employees. I feel an environment that does not communicate, and presents a power struggle is a counteractive environment. Until this group can resolve its internal issues I would not recommend leaving my capital under their supervision.
There is an unbelievable lack of over site from the upper level management which causes friction with lower level employees. There were already enough issues with the firm and its auction preferred shares, and the liquidation process. There is a manta that states, "When in doubt, stay out". And as I've seen that if management continues to live in a bubble, they will continue to lose revenue streams to their competitors.

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