Robert Half International (RHI) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Robert Half International (NYSE:RHI) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Robert Half have gained 2.7% in the past three months, outperforming the industry’s growth of 2.4%. Further, the company’s international presence has driven revenues on the back of increasing demand for its professional staffing services. Also reduced tax rates will likely lead to greater retention of profits, which will help the company allocate more funds toward corporate reformation and development efforts. Investments in software initiatives and technology infrastructure should add to the company’s future growth opportunities. We appreciate the company’s shareholder-friendly moves of dividend payments and share buybacks. However, the company faces competition on a national, regional and local level, mainly on the basis of pricing and reliability of services. Risks associated with international presence and higher operating expenses are other major headwinds.”

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RHI has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a hold rating and set a $57.00 price target on shares of Robert Half International in a research report on Wednesday, December 27th. Macquarie downgraded Robert Half International from a neutral rating to an underperform rating and lowered their price target for the company from $56.66 to $42.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 5th. Deutsche Bank boosted their price target on Robert Half International from $58.00 to $65.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, December 28th. SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on Robert Half International to $58.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 31st. Finally, BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on Robert Half International from $53.00 to $58.00 and gave the company a market perform rating in a research report on Friday, December 29th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Robert Half International has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $58.20.

Shares of NYSE:RHI opened at $59.23 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $7,275.52, a PE ratio of 22.61 and a beta of 1.18. Robert Half International has a 52 week low of $42.92 and a 52 week high of $60.59.

Robert Half International (NYSE:RHI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The business services provider reported $0.65 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.02. Robert Half International had a return on equity of 29.31% and a net margin of 5.52%. The firm had revenue of $1.35 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.32 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.61 earnings per share. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.4% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts expect that Robert Half International will post 3.23 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, February 23rd were paid a dividend of $0.28 per share. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.89%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, February 22nd. This is a boost from Robert Half International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.24. Robert Half International’s payout ratio is currently 43.08%.

Robert Half International declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Tuesday, February 13th that authorizes the company to buyback 10,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the business services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Robert Half International news, CEO Harold M. Messmer, Jr. sold 100,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.06, for a total transaction of $5,806,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Michael C. Buckley sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $57.84, for a total value of $578,400.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 457,247 shares of company stock worth $25,936,679. 3.40% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Pensionfund DSM Netherlands acquired a new position in shares of Robert Half International during the fourth quarter worth about $3,221,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Robert Half International in the third quarter worth about $762,000. James Hambro & Partners acquired a new position in shares of Robert Half International in the fourth quarter worth about $164,000. AXA lifted its stake in shares of Robert Half International by 37.0% in the fourth quarter. AXA now owns 412,252 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $22,896,000 after acquiring an additional 111,387 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. lifted its stake in shares of Robert Half International by 133.3% in the third quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 18,200 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $916,000 after acquiring an additional 10,400 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 85.49% of the company’s stock.

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About Robert Half International

Robert Half International Inc provides staffing and risk consulting services in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The company operates through three segments: Temporary and Consultant Staffing, Permanent Placement Staffing, and Risk Consulting and Internal Audit Services. It places temporary personnel for accounting, finance, and bookkeeping; temporary and full-time office and administrative personnel consisting of executive and administrative assistants, receptionists, and customer service representatives; full-time accounting, financial, tax, and accounting operations personnel; and information technology contract consultants and full-time employees in the areas of platform systems integration to end-user technical and desktop support, including specialists in application development, networking, systems integration and deployment, database design and administration, and security and business continuity.

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