Recruiters are posting decent gains this week, with updates from both Robert Walters (RWA) and SThree (STHR) indicating activity is holding up despite concerns about global economic growth.

Today, SThree shares jump 3.3% to 305p on an encouraging trading statement showing gross profit 27% ahead of the prior year for the fourth quarter to 30 November. Its businesses span Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

web - sthree

'We maintained our positive trading momentum in the final quarter, with Contract and Permanent both posting improved performances, to produce an encouraging overall result for the year,’ says chief executive officer (CEO) Gary Elden, adding 'our investment in Contract and in rebuilding our Permanent capability is now coming through in our results as expected.'

On the back of the update, broker Liberum Capital reiterates its 475p price target on the stock and gives it a ‘buy’ rating. But investors should be cautious about extrapolating impressive growth rates at SThree and Robert Walters into a rosier economic outlook.

Yesterday's statement from Robert Walters flagged the likelihood pre-tax profit for the year to end-December will come in ‘materially ahead’ of expectations, though it also came with a big caveat:

‘However, the Group remains cautious of the longer-term outlook given the current volatility in global market confidence.'

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Issue Date: 05 Dec 2014