Analyst Michael Hodes raised his $3.10 fiscal 2004 (Apr.) earnings per share estimate to $3.20 on mortgage strength. He notes his assessment of the company's tax prospects, however, are incrementally more negative as fiscal 2003 client growth trends look even less favorable against recent Internal Revenue Service data.
Hodes says the estimate increase is prompted by recent talks with secondary market purchasers of sub-prime mortgages (a gain on sale margins is likely to strengthen in the near-term), and clearer momentum -- as Block's most direct sub-prime peer, New Century Financial, raised its guidance on Thursday.
Hodes continues his in-line rating, saying he's concerned about the fiscal 2004 tax outlook.