H&R Block Stumbles Despite Strong Earnings

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H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) released fiscal fourth quarter financial results after markets closed Tuesday. The company reported $5.43 in earnings per share (EPS) and $2.39 billion in revenue compared with consensus estimates that called for $5.27 in EPS and $2.34 billion in revenue. The same period last year had $3.76 in EPS and $2.33 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, total revenues rose by 4.1% as the result of increased U.S. assisted tax preparation fees resulting and increased U.S. do-it-yourself (DIY) tax preparation fees.

The company announced that the Board of Directors approved a 4% increase in its quarterly dividend, to $0.25 per share. The dividend will be payable on July 2, to shareholders of record as of June 22.

H&R Block did not offer any guidance for the fiscal first quarter, however, there are consensus estimates calling for a net loss of $0.74 per share and $141.23 million in revenue for the coming quarter.

On the books, cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.54 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $1.01 billion in the same period from last year.

Jeff Jones, H&R Block’s President and CEO, commented:

We achieved our goal of improving the client trajectory and delivered positive financial results for the fiscal year. We’re also making progress on our multi-year strategic framework. As we look ahead to fiscal 2019, we will make strategic investments to enhance the relevance of our brand, strengthen technology platforms, and improve the fundamental value clients receive from H&R Block.

Shares of H&R Block closed Tuesday at $29.60, with a consensus analyst price target of $28.57 and a 52-week range of $23.59 to $31.80. Following the announcement, the stock was down about 18% at $24.20 in early trading indications Wednesday.