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Analyst Blog

On Feb 26, 2014, shares of H&R Block, Inc. (HRB - Analyst Report) reached a new 52-week high of $32.42. The momentum was driven by increase in market share in the digital online business and exposure to international operations.

H&R Block has updated its online tax preparation business by introducing a new user interface. This enhancement helps taxpayers to easily complete their taxes online. With the increased usage of online devices to perform regular activities, this is expected to draw more customers for the company, thereby making way for revenue generation.

Moreover, the launch of Remote Service – that simplifies the tax procedure for U.S. citizens residing abroad – also broadens the portfolio of the company, enhancing its clientele base.

Further, the company is focused on enhancing its core tax operations. Toward this end, H&R Block has decided to sell H&R Block Bank through an agreement with Republic Bank and Trust Company.  Post the divestiture, H&R Block will not remain a savings and loan holding company and therefore will not be subjected to the Federal Reserve Bank regulations.

Moreover, the implementation of Affordable Care Act is expected to help the company gain customers as it requires all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty through their 2014 tax return.

H&R Block has been consistent in enhancing shareholders’ value through dividend payouts and share repurchases. It bought back 21.3 million shares for $315 million in 2013. It has also been paying regular dividends. Its current quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share translates into a dividend yield of 2.83% that exceeds the industry average of 2.09%.

The stock gained almost 33% over a 1-year period. The overall long-term earnings growth rate for this stock is projected at 11.0%.

H&R Block currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the financial services space include Discover Financial Services (DFS - Analyst Report), Euronet Worldwide Inc. (EEFT - Snapshot Report) and World Acceptance Corp. (WRLD - Snapshot Report). All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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