H&R Block Inc. (HRB), the biggest U.S. tax preparer, rose to the highest since 2008 after Chief Executive Officer William C. Cobb said he expects this year’s filing season to yield more business following an initial delay.
Shares of the Kansas City, Missouri-based company jumped 8.9 percent to $27.21 at 10:39 a.m. in New York. That’s the highest intraday price since September 2008. The shares climbed 35 percent this year through yesterday.
“We continue to believe that industry filings this tax season will grow in line with historical levels of approximately 1 percent to 2 percent,” Cobb said yesterday on a conference call with analysts. “While it’s still early in the season, we believe we are outperforming the market thus far in both the assisted and digital categories.”
The Internal Revenue Service opened the U.S. filing season Jan. 30, about a week later than originally planned, after Congress passed changes to the law. Cobb, 56, is seeking to expand services as taxpayers adjust to new health-care laws and navigate changes linked to the expiration of George W. Bush-era tax cuts. The CEO also is paring expenses as H&R Block vies to recapture market share lost to TurboTax maker Intuit Inc. (INTU)
H&R Block posted a third-quarter net loss yesterday of $16.9 million, or 6 cents a share, from continuing operations for the three months ended Jan. 31. That compared with a loss of $3.6 million, or 1 cent, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a loss of 2 cents a share.
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