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H&R Block stock plunge 11% despite Q4 earnings and revenue beat

Tax preparation company H&R Block (HRB) topped earnings and revenue estimates for the final quarter of fiscal 2018. Consolidated earnings came in at $1.14 billion or $5.45 per share, up 46% from a year ago on revenue of $2.39 billion, up 2.7% year-over-year. The earnings growth was helped by the lower tax rate, while revenue increase was driven by improved client volumes and net average charge in its U.S. tax businesses.

For the year as a whole, the company prepared about 20 million returns through or by H&R Block in the US, which grew 2.5% from the year ago period. Additionally, strong client retention drove the client trajectory for the company’s US assisted businesses.

H&R Block Board of Directors announced a 4% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.25 per share

Assisted and do-it-yourself (DIY) businesses saw improvements in net average charge for fiscal 2018, driven by product enhancements and effective marketing.

The company also announced that it is going to close 400 of its tax centers that weren’t profitable enough to run the business. H&R Block is now going to shift its focus more on improving technology and quality of its tax offices.

“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,” said CEO Jeff Jones.

H&R Block’s Board of Directors announced a 4% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.25 per share payable on July 2, 2018, to shareholders of record as of June 22, 2018.

The company’s stock advanced slightly post the earnings release, while subsequently declined more than 8% in after-market trading hours. The stock has had a mixed response throughout the year, remaining almost flat year-over-year.

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