LONDON (SHARECAST) - Compared to some of its peers in the recruitment sector, SThree had a commendable first half in tough market conditions, but those conditions have shown no signs of improvement in the last two months, so Friday's interim management statement may be one of no more than quiet satisfaction.
France and Germany notched up year-on-year increases in gross profit of 23% and 17% respectively in the first half of 2012.
"The outlook remains bleak, however, and we still expect global macro-economic uncertainty to weigh on candidate and employer confidence – we think it’s unlikely that France and Germany can carry on at those rates of growth," comments Peel Hunt. "The best indicator we have of how the company sees the outlook is the headcount, which was down 2.2% in H1 [the first half]," the broker added.
Switching to the economy, Credit Suisse thinks it likely that UK industrial production rebounded in July, following the collapse caused by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.
Purchasing Managers' Index data suggest that underlying industrial production could be weak, Credit Suisse avers, "but it seems likely that the noise from the Jubilee will work to override any informational content in this month’s release."
Credit Suisse is predicting a return of the industrial production index to April levels, which would give a monthly growth rate of 1.5% and an annual growth rate of -2.7%.
Charles Stanley is a bit more bullish, predicting a 1.8% rise in July, giving a year-on-year decline of 2.4%.
Charles Stanley forecasts that producer input prices rose 1.5% in August, following July's 1,3% increase. That would take the index to a level 1.0% higher than a year earlier, representing a turnaround from the 2.4% year-on-year decline seen in July.
Core output prices are seen edging up 0.1% in August (+1.3% year-on-year), after holding steady (+1.3% year-on-year) in July.
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Avon Rubber, BG Group, Blackrock Income And Growth Investment Trust, CSR, Dialight, Foreign and Colonial Inv Trust, Jupiter Fund Management , Porvair, Puma VCT V
QUARTERLY PAYMENT DATE
Barclays, Boeing Co
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Balance of Trade (GER) (07:00)
Current Account (GER) (07:00)
Industrial Production (GER) (11:00)
Non-Farm Payrolls (US) (13:30)
Retail Price Index (GER) (07:00)
Unemployment Rate (US) (13:30)
MDM Engineering Group Ltd. (DI)
BlueStar SecuTech Inc. (DI), Latchways, Oilex Ltd., Small Companies Dividend Trust
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Industrial Production (09:30)
Manufacturing Production (09:00)
Producer Price Index (09:30)
FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Ashtead Group, Cranswick, iEnergizer Ltd., Prosperity Minerals Holdings Ltd., QinetiQ Group, RPC Group