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H&R Block gained 7.9 percent on earnings surprise

Investors bid up shares of the Kansas City-based tax-preparation company in morning trading after a late Tuesday earnings report.
Investors bid up shares of the Kansas City-based tax-preparation company in morning trading after a late Tuesday earnings report. Scott Eells

H&R Block’s earnings surprise — profits beat even the company’s expectations — pushed the Kansas City-based tax preparer’s up 7.9 percent Wednesday.

Block shares gained $2.14 to close at $29.13. The earnings report had been released after markets closed Tuesday.

The company’s profit had reached $408.9 million in the tax season that ended in April, up from $374.3 million a year earlier. Block officials had said profits benefited from collecting higher average charges this season and from a tight control over costs throughout the year.

Wednesday’s trading pushed Block shares as high as $29.89, its highest price in the last 52 weeks.

CEO Bill Cobb is retiring at the end of July, making Tuesday’s surprisingly strong earnings report his last at the company’s helm. Cobb joined the company six years ago. General counsel Tom Gerke will serve as interim CEO until a successor is found.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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