H&R Block 2Q Loss Thins on Tighter Expenses

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Helped by gains in its tax services division and tighter cost controls, H&R Block (NYS:HRB) surged more than 4% afterhours upon revealing late Tuesday a narrowed second-quarter loss.

The Kansas City, Mo-based company posted a net loss from continuing operations of $106.8 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with a loss of $126.5 million, or 38 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

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Earnings for the period ended Oct. 31 were marginally ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of a 38-cent loss.

Revenue for the provider of tax preparation services was $322.9 million, down narrowly from $326.1 million a year ago, missing the Street’s view of $339.54 million.

"Our second-quarter results met our expectations and we are aggressively preparing for the key second half of our fiscal year," said Alan Bennett, H&R Block’s chief executive. "Reversing our early-season client losses is our top priority and we will take strong actions to drive more traffic into our offices."

The results were fueled by its tax services unit, with revenue up 1.5% to $110.9 million, and expenses down 5.8% on staff reductions.

Tighter costs also helped its RSM McGladrey segment to sharply widen its profit, up to $8.4 million from $200,000 in the year-earlier period.

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