A Solid Growth Play For An Improving Job Market

| About: Robert Half (RHI)

Robert Half International (NYSE:RHI) reported solid earnings this morning and looks as if it is executing well against its goals. The stock could be a very solid play if job growth picks up from current levels. Growth investors looking for a "risk on" play should consider the equity at these levels.

Here are the key earnings highlights for Robert Half:

  • Earnings rose 30% year over year and the company made 41 cents a share in the quarter, besting expectations for 38 cents a share.
  • This was the fifth consecutive quarter of the company expanding growth margins. Robert Half margins have grown an average of 1.1 percentage points per quarter on a year-over-year basis.
  • Revenue has also now increased for four quarters in a row.

Robert Half offers specialized staffing and risk consulting services in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Here are five additional reasons Robert Half is a good growth play at under $26 a share:

  1. The 13 analysts who cover the stock have a $35 a share price target on the shares, more than 35% above the current price.
  2. Earnings are growing at an impressive pace. The company made just $1.04 a share in FY 2011, but is on track to make approximately $1.50 a share in FY 2012. Analysts have a consensus earnings estimate of $1.78 a share penciled in for FY 2013.
  3. It has a solid balance sheet with over $250 million in net cash on the balance sheet, and the stock also sports a five-year projected PEG of under 1 (0.94).
  4. The stock yields 2.3% and has increased its dividend payout by 50% over the past five years.
  5. The company has now easily beat earnings estimates each of the last three quarters, and the stock sells for less than 15 times earnings, a discount to its five-year average (37.7).

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in RHI over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.