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DO MICHAEL PAGE'S RESULTS SPELL BETTER NEWS FOR THE JOBS MARKET?

<strong>ROBERT MORTON </strong> INVESTEC<br />Today&rsquo;s announcement covers another very difficult trading period, with activity continuing to weaken across the group. But, as with its peer group, Michael Page&rsquo;s share price rests on recovery prospects rather than current trading, and we continue to rate the stock a &ldquo;hold&rdquo;.<br /><br /><strong>PAUL JONES </strong> PANMURE GORDON<br />The results were as expected. In terms of the all-important outlook statement, market conditions are expected to remain extremely tough going in the third quarter. At best, the rates of decline in some markets are stabilising. We believe too much has been priced in to the shares too quickly.<br /><br /><strong>JULIAN CATER </strong> COLLINS STEWART<br />First half operating profit fell 94 per cent on a constant currency basis, the firm&rsquo;s largest ever peak to trough decline in operating profit. Management anticipates a challenging third quarter, and we still believe that there is a strong chance that the second half will be loss making for the group.