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A key data trend may lift Waste Management at earnings

2 weeks ago by Jon Marino in Earnings

Waste Management ($NYSE:WM) shares have had a tremendous run, gaining 130% over the last 5 years, as 2020 kicks off and analysts are awaiting earnings on February 13, the Houston-based waste and environmental services company have one more compelling data point for investors. 

Waste Management has a clearly cyclical hiring pattern, in which the company trims some of its job postings at the end of every year - a common trend among Fortune 500 companies. Then, every year, once the new year kicks off, Waste Management starts hiring more again.

But, year-over-year, Waste Management's 'minimum' for job postings keeps getting bigger and bigger. 

The 'low' for Waste Management job postings in 2018 rose 7% year-over-year, to 2019, and the next year, the 'low' rose another 6.6%. In other words, every year, Waste Management appears to need more and more staff - even when it gets to the point in the year when it needs less staff than at any other point in the year. Staffing numbers are less relevant because Waste Management is in the process of getting approval for an M&A deal announced last year. 

Analysts at Stifel said in a note dated February 12 that Waste Management remains a "buy," and that they're looking at 4Q19 commercial collection for good news - but that there is lingering uncertainty surrounding its M&A deal to buy Advanced Disposal Services in 2019, still awaiting regulatory reviews. 

Waste Management remains the most respectable organization using trash cans in the city of Houston, and when it reports earnings February 13, analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $1.17 per share.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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