H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “H&R Block has intensified focus on its core operations and has divested its non-core operations. The company has chalked up a capital plan to ensure enough liquidity and enhance shareholder value. It also remains focused on boosting client base and lower costs, which in turn, will drive strong free cash flows. H&R Block projects long-term EBITDA guidance between 28% and 32%. However, the divestiture of the bank unit involves certain one-time charges and also led to revenue decline and margin contraction for H&R Block. Unfavorable foreign currency translation is another headwind. With respect to its earnings performance, the tax preparer has posted negative surprise in three of the last four quarters owing to the seasonality of its tax business. However, there were no earnings momentum for fiscal 2017 over the last 30 days though for the fiscal 2018, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved south by a couple of cents.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on HRB. Piper Jaffray Cos. reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $29.00 price objective on shares of H&R Block in a research note on Friday, July 15th. Macquarie started coverage on shares of H&R Block in a research note on Thursday, August 25th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $28.00 price objective for the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $24.00 price objective on shares of H&R Block in a research note on Friday, June 10th. Credit Suisse Group AG started coverage on shares of H&R Block in a research report on Friday, June 17th. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. restated a “hold” rating on shares of H&R Block in a research report on Monday, June 6th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $31.10.

Analyst Recommendations for H&R Block (NYSE:HRB)

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H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) traded up 1.09% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $23.09. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 541,993 shares. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $23.27 and a 200 day moving average price of $23.38. H&R Block has a 12 month low of $19.18 and a 12 month high of $37.53. The company has a market cap of $5.06 billion, a PE ratio of 15.62 and a beta of 0.80.

H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 30th. The company reported ($0.55) earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of ($0.53) by $0.02. H&R Block had a net margin of 11.58% and a negative return on equity of 202.63%. The business earned $125 million during the quarter. During the same period last year, the company earned ($0.35) EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 9.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that H&R Block will post $1.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 3rd. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, September 14th will be paid a $0.22 dividend. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.85%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 12th. H&R Block’s dividend payout ratio is presently 52.69%.

In other H&R Block news, insider Jeffrey Brown sold 16,067 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.86, for a total value of $367,291.62. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 118,513 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,709,207.18. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, SVP Gregory J. Macfarlane purchased 4,618 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 1st. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $21.65 per share, with a total value of $99,979.70. Following the completion of the purchase, the senior vice president now directly owns 121,707 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,634,956.55. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.30% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. FMR LLC increased its stake in H&R Block by 34.0% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 17,027,724 shares of the company’s stock valued at $391,638,000 after buying an additional 4,315,751 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new position in H&R Block during the fourth quarter worth about $74,869,000. Tobam boosted its position in H&R Block by 484.5% in the second quarter. Tobam now owns 1,900,661 shares of the company’s stock worth $43,715,000 after buying an additional 1,575,506 shares during the last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in H&R Block during the second quarter worth about $25,712,000. Finally, Kleinwort Benson Investors Dublin Ltd purchased a new position in H&R Block during the second quarter worth about $22,065,000. 93.05% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

H&R Block Company Profile

H&R Block, Inc (H&R Block), through its subsidiaries, provides tax preparation and other services. The Company provides assisted income tax return preparation, digital do-it-yourself (DIY) tax solutions and other services and products related to income tax return preparation to the general public primarily in the United States, Canada, Australia and their respective territories.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:HRB

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