H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB) shares are rising 10% after a strong fourth quarter performance for the year. Particularly, the company’s EBITDA margin outclassed the HRB management team’s preannounced forecast. Clearly, CEO Bill Cobb is leaving his six years with the tax-preparation company on top. Though BTIG analyst Mark Palmer believes HRB stands to benefit from the political climate that has cast a shadow of apprehension on tax reform plans, he questions whether the advantages can last.
As such, the analyst reiterates a Sell rating on shares of HRB while boosting the price target from $17 to $19, which represents a 36% downside from where the stock is currently trading.
Palmer explains, “The company’s shares traded in the aftermarket yesterday at 15x the consensus FY18E EPS, a multiple that we view as difficult to justify given the company’s modest growth profile and the potential for multiple contraction if tax simplification efforts come to fruition. Moreover, we are concerned that the benefits of HRB’s heavy promotional activity during the FY17 tax season, the cost of which was offset by aggressive expense savings, may not be sustainable.”
Overall, “We believe the recent rally in HRB shares has been driven not only by the company’s smaller-than-expected decline in tax preparation volumes of 2.5% during the 2017 tax season, but also by the turmoil surrounding the Trump Administration that has raised doubts about its ability to enact tax reform. Elements of the reform plan could reduce the need for HRB’s tax prep services or at least accelerate the shift to online filing, a business line dominated by Intuit’s (INTU, Not Rated) TurboTax,” Palmer concludes.
According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Mark Palmer is ranked #1,039 out of 4,578 analysts. Palmer has a 52% success rate and earns 3.3% in his yearly returns. When recommending HRB stock, Palmer yields 3.0% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics indicate HRB as a Hold. Out of 4 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 3 remain sidelined on H&R Block stock while 1 is bearish. With a loss potential of 24%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $22.50.