Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barrett Business Services Up 35% intra-day on Earnings Surprise

Barrett (Nasdaq: BBSI) is the staffing/PEO company that I described buying too early in the "Anatomy of a Mistake" section of the post "From Joel Greenblatt to Jim Rogers, Part III: The Importance of Macro Trends". Today it's up after announcing 2Q earnings of 29 cents per share after the close yesterday, beating the consensus estimate of 22 cents per share. The company also raised its guidance for Q3. These earnings are especially surprising given the CEO's bearish comments on the California labor market during the last conference call. On that call, he estimated that California (where the company does more than half of its business) had an unemployment rate of about 7.5%. I'm still down a lot from where I bought BBSI, but I am content to continue holding this one.


Lorne David Porayko said...

Hi Dave:

sorry to bring up this old post but I was wondering if you were still following/holding BBSI?

I also got the macro bit wrong and bought in way too early. Despite the gloomy picture for the PEO sector these days, I've been impressed by the quality of BBSI's management, its ongoing balance sheet strength and the dividend has kept me interested as well. Once might expect that unless depression type conditions persist, BBSI would be well positioned to thrive during a recovery.

Do you have any comments?

DaveinHackensack said...

Hi Lorne,

I do still own it. I agree with you about the quality of BBSI's management (I also like that the CEO owns so much of the company) and its balance sheet strength. Those are the main reasons I've held the stock. I figured that I got the macro trend wrong on it initially, but the company is easily strong enough to survive until the employment picture improves, so there was no reason to sell it at the worst time in its economic cycle. Also, one point that the CEO has made on occasion is that contract/temp employees are usually the first fired in a downturn, but also usually the first hired back in an upturn.

Maybe I'll average down during the next market correction, if BBSI takes a hit.