Goldman: Sell This Stock Before Tax Season

HRB was struggling near key resistance heading into today

by Karee Venema

    Published on Jan 31, 2019 at 9:49 AM

    Goldman Sachs downgraded H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB) stock to "sell" from "neutral," and lowered its price target to $22 from $27 -- a discount to last night's close at $25.52. Analyst George Tong said U.S. tax reform and the ending of many promotions this year will likely lead to falling assisted tax volume for the company.

    In reaction, HRB stock is down 6.4% to trade at $23.89. The shares rebounded after skimming five-month low territory near $23.60 in late December, but have since stalled out in the $26 region, home to their 180-day moving and pre-bear gap close on Dec. 18.

    There's plenty of skepticism already priced into H&R Block shares, too. While the majority of analysts maintain a "hold" or worse rating, the average 12-month price target of $25.86 sits just above HRB stock's current price. Plus, short interest surged 9.3% in the most recent reporting period to 28.05 million shares, or 13.7% of the equity's float.

    Meanwhile, HRB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.59 ranks in the 76th annual percentile, indicating short-term puts are more popular than calls at the moment. Currently, the April 23 put is home to peak open interest, and data from Trade-Alert points to significant buy-to-open activity here back in September, when H & R Block was trading near $25.75.


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