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ManpowerGroup rises as 2Q outlook tops St. view

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of staffing company ManpowerGroup rose Friday after the company's first-quarter results and its outlook for the current quarter bested analyst expectations thanks to cost cuts and tax credits.

The company said Friday that its net income fell 41 percent to $23.9 million. That was in large part because of a $25.3 million charge for severance and consolidating offices. But excluding that, earnings rose, even as revenue shrank. ManpowerGroup has been shrinking its business as economic weakness in Europe weighs on hiring there.

Business trends are still not good. Revenue fell across the Milwaukee company's geographic regions in the Americas and Europe during the January-March period.

On a per-share basis, earnings came to 31 cents, down from 50 cents in last year's first quarter. But excluding the restructuring charge, profit rose to 63 cents per share in the latest quarter, far exceeding analysts' prediction of 45 cents per share, according to FactSet. The company said it also benefited from tax credits.

Revenue dropped 6 percent to $4.77 billion from $5.1 billion. That matched analysts' expectations.

But helping offset the revenue decline were cost cuts, which began at the end of last year. Selling and administrative expenses fell 2 percent, to $735.7 million. The cost of running its business slid more than 6 percent, to $3.98 billion.

In the current quarter, ManpowerGroup expects profit of 84 to 92 cents per share before restructuring costs. Analysts expect 77 cents per share.

Shares of ManpowerGroup rose $1.98, or 3.8 percent, to $53.49 in late afternoon trading. Shares hit a 52-week high of $57.75 earlier Friday.