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Hays, PageGroup get price target raise by Credit Suisse as end markets accelerate

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Hays PLC (LON:HAS) and PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE) got a price target raise by Credit Suisse as analysts said end markets are accelerating for both recruiters.

Hays’ was bumped up to 155p from 140p while its underlying earnings (EBITA) forecast was lifted by £27mln to £90mln.

READ: Hays sees full year profits ahead of expectations as decline in net fees slows

The Swiss bank said the company’s strong market position and investment in headcount in recent months will support market share gains in the coming quarters driving incremental operational leverage.

Its policy of booking perm fees on start date rather than contract signing also means it has yet to fully record the strength of markets in March, so the recommendation remains ‘underperform’.

“We think near-term recovery is reflected in the price but longer-term growth will be limited by ongoing pressure on pricing, shift towards technology-enabled in-house solutions and digital online consulting platforms,” analysts said.

Meanwhile, PageGroup’s target price was hiked to 500p from 360p, with EBIT forecast rising to £110mln from £67mln, but it’s also still an ‘underperform’ for the bank.

As economies reopen, the firm should see sharp growth, which should support further operational leverage and profit rebuild, estimated to reach new absolute peak levels in 2022 for the first time since 2007.

“While near-term momentum is positive, we think longer-term growth rates will be constrained by headwinds to the agency recruitment business from lower cost technology-enabled in-house alternatives and digital platforms,” Credit Suisse said.

Hays was flat at 164.7p while PageGroup dipped 1% to 530.5p on Wednesday at noon.

FTSE 100 ends lower as sterling gains more than a cent against the greenback

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