Manpower Guidance Disappoints

After a solid fourth quarter, the staffing company predicts a major miss.
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(MAN) - Get Report

was banged around Tuesday after forecasting a sizable earnings shortfall in the current quarter.

Results for the just-completed fourth quarter were strong. The staffing company earned $69.6 million, or 73 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $49.9 million, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 24% from last year to $4.1 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 73 cents a share on revenue of $3.86 billion.

But Manpower predicted first-quarter earnings of 34 cents to 37 cents a share, short of the Thomson First Call consensus of 46 cents a share. The shares tanked $5.65, or 11.6%, to $43 Tuesday morning.

Regarding the fourth quarter, Manpower said favorable currency translation goosed the profit increase. Without it, earnings were 69 cents a share, up 16% from a year ago.

"The Manpower team executed well in the fourth quarter, reflecting the strength and momentum that we gained throughout 2004, with significant contributions from our European operations and Jefferson Wells, our financial professional services unit," the company said.