H&R Block Sells Bank Unit to BofI Federal Bank and The Gap Gets Downgraded to Neutral at Janney

H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) said it would sell its bank unit to BofI Federal Bank. BofI Holding, Inc. is a holding company for BofI Federal Bank. "H&R Block's sale of the bank has the potential to be a seismic event for the stock," BTIG analyst Mark Palmer said in an e-mail. "By removing itself from Federal Reserve oversight, HRB would be in position to lever itself up and use the proceeds to buy back a very significant portion of its outstanding shares," Palmer said.

H&R Block, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides tax preparation and related services to the general public in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It offers assisted income tax return preparation and related services through a system of retail offices operated directly by the company or by franchisees; and online tax services, including tax advice, professional and do-it-yourself tax return preparation, and electronic filing services through its Website at hrblock.com.

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The Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Janney Montgomery. The firm said the retail store's inventory is growing faster than sales, hurting margins. Gap has said it expects first-quarter margin to decline at an even faster pace than the fourth-quarter drop. Janney cut the stock to neutral from buy.

The Gap, Inc. operates as an apparel retail company worldwide. It provides apparel, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix brands. Its products comprise maternity apparel; loungewear, sleepwear, intimates, and active apparel for women; handbags, shoes, jewelry, personal care products, and eyewear for men and women; women’s apparel, footwear, and accessories for sports and fitness activities, including crossover apparel and casualwear; and luxury and contemporary products. The company also has franchise agreements with unaffiliated franchisees to operate stores in Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa under the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy brands.

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