Skip to main content H&R Block Sticks With Core

The company unloads its Block Financial Arm to Ameriprise Financial for $315 million.

H&R Block Selling Investment Adviser Unit

H&R Block

(HRB) - Get H&R Block, Inc. Report

continues to make progress toward getting back to its focus. The company is selling its H&R Block Financial Advisors unit to

Ameriprise Financial

(AMP) - Get Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Report

in a $315 million cash deal.

Management felt the securities brokerage business increasingly demands size and scale, and H&R Block Financial Advisors simply did not have the size to be able to compete at the highest levels in the future. The deal is expected to close by year-end.

We like H&R Block's move here, and strongly stand by the theory that it's always better to keep your focus as the No. 1 brand in one core area. H&R Block shares are attractive at current levels, which is why the stock is on our "Recommended" list. The stock has a 2.31% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $24.70.

H&R Block is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Applied Materials Could Be a Solar Play in Disguise

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

is starting to see a mix in its earnings results. The company just reported a revenue decline of 28 percent to $1.85 billion. The big news may be in what is happening within the company's core operations.

Management is seeing a difficult semiconductor industry environment, but the company is making major strides in its display, service and solar businesses. The company reported a substantially increasing number of crystalline silicon systems shipped, as just one example of the company continuing to ramp up its next-generation innovations in silicon, display and solar.

We are intrigued by the company's focus on the solar market, but would like to see it improve its semiconductor business results. The shares are not super-pricey at these levels, but we prefer

TheStreet Recommends


(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

as a pure semi-play right now. We think Applied Materials is on the right track, but we need to see improvement in the news flow, as well as the stock price. The stock has a dividend yield of 1.30%, based on last night's closing stock price of $18.47.

Applied Materials is not a recommended dividend stock at this time, holding a rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.

Deere's Earnings Feel Commodity Cost Pressures


(DE) - Get Deere & Company Report

just reported its third-quarter results, in which it had a sales rise of 17% to $7.74 billion, but the earnings come in 4 cents below consensus EPS estimates. Some of the initial takes focused on the disappointing sales of its construction and forestry equipment, which fell 7 percent, as well as higher costs of raw materials such as steel and rubber.

The company made up for some of the soft results by outperforming in its agricultural equipment division, where sales spiked 35 percent. Management is giving cautious guidance on the next quarter's results.

We are going to keep Deere on our "Recommended" list, and we believe the shares offer an attractive risk/reward at these levels. We would add to shares on strength, but would wait on any weakness that may come from this report. The stock is trading at 13 times 2009 low end of estimates. Let the "hot money" do its thing for a day or so. Deere has a dividend yield of 1.44%, based on last night's closing stock price of $69.35.

Deere & Co. is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.

Macy's Beats EPS Numbers, but Lowers Guidance


(M) - Get Macy's Inc Report

reported its earnings this morning, and the EPS numbers were good at 9 cents ahead of analyst estimates. However, the retailer's revenue number came in below consensus estimates.

The company is trimming its full-year profit forecast to $1.70 to $1.85 a share from a previous projection of $1.85 to $2.15 a share. Management is actively moving toward private-label product sales and offering exclusive collections featuring home-product guru Martha Stewart and designer Tommy Hilfiger. The company has also consolidated divisions, cut jobs and tightened inventory levels. We like the risk/reward in Macy's shares. The shares were trading in the mid $40s in April of last year. Also, the stock is not pricey at 11 times earnings. The company has a 2.57% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $20.27.

Macy's is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Longs Drug Stores Receives Buyout Bid from CVS Caremark

Make that two of our Recommended dividend stocks getting buyout offers in the same week. Talk about lucky!

Longs Drug Stores (LDG)

is getting a $71.50-a-share offer from

CVS Caremark

(CVS) - Get CVS Health Corporation Report

, which is a 32% premium over Longs' closing stock price on Tuesday.

CVS Caremark would be acquiring 521 retail drugstores in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona. The transaction will also include Longs' Rx America subsidiary, which offers prescription benefits management services to over 8 million members and prescription drug plan benefits to approximately 450,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

We are happy to see investors get the premium takeover for the shares of Long's Drug Stores, but we would continue to hold the shares in the event another bid comes -- maybe




Longs Drug Stores is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Visit for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.