Monster, LinkedIn Shares Rise After Job Picture Improves

Monster Worldwide Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., two of the biggest websites devoted to career development, rose on speculation that an improving economy and federal stimulus plans will spur job searches.

Monster shares jumped 21 percent, the most in 10 months, making it the biggest gainer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Three top executives, led by Chief Executive Officer Salvatore Iannuzzi, reported buying a combined 87,237 shares in filings today, helping stoke the increase. LinkedIn rose 6 percent.

Investors are betting that an improving employment outlook, coupled with President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, will boost hiring and demand for Internet services. Obama plans to give a speech after the Sept. 5 Labor Day holiday on his proposal, which includes efforts to boost small-business hiring. Some Federal Reserve policy makers also are pushing for more aggressive action to stimulate the economy.

“The stocks had embedded a high probability of entering a recession, but have been rebounding along with the market on the hopes that we will be able to avoid the recession,” said Tim McHugh, an analyst with William Blair & Co., who rates both stocks “market perform” and doesn’t own them. “The companies could benefit from economic stimulus or a jobs program.”

‘Overdue for a Bounce’

Monster, the world’s biggest online-recruiting company, was “overdue for a bounce” after other Internet companies surged in recent weeks, said Douglas Arthur, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc. in New York. He rates the stock “equalweight.” Shares of LinkedIn, a social-networking site for professionals, had already jumped 11 percent yesterday.

“Business in online job trends is actually getting better and with greater intensity, and earnings are better,” Arthur said in an interview. “And yet the stock has been down.”

Monster shares, down 65 percent this year before today, rose $1.75 to $9.91 at 4 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange. LinkedIn increased $4.95 to $87.49.

Matthew Henson, a spokesman for New York-based Monster, didn’t immediately have a comment. Hani Durzy, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other job-related companies also saw gains. Menlo Park, California-based Robert Half International Inc. climbed 50 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $23.93. Shares of Milwaukee-based Manpower Inc., increased 76 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $40.05.

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