It looks like it's becoming a little dangerous to be a senior executive of a company. Last week, Merrill Lynch (MER) announced that CEO Stan O'Neal was stepping down due to losses incurred from subprime problems. This weekend, Citigroup (C) reported that CEO Charles Prince was stepping down, also due to subprime-related losses.
Joining the growing list is H&R Block's executive vice president and chief financial officer William L. Trubeck. The firm has stated that Becky S. Shulman, senior vice president and treasurer, will serve as acting chief financial officer. Trubeck joined H&R Block in his current position in October 2004 and will be available to consult with the company through December to aid in the transition and completion of key activities.
The shares of HRB are down 3.8% this afternoon following a 2.7% loss suffered on Friday. The shares have been stair-stepping lower most of the year and are currently down 14%, guided lower by resistance at its 80-week and 160-week moving averages.
Investors have certainly lost all hope of the stock recovering. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio has risen to an annual high of 3.46. In other words, there is nearly 3.5 puts for every 1 call among options that expire in less than 3 months. What's more, short interest jumped by 12% during the most recent reporting period to 23 million shares. This accumulation of bearish bet is more than 11 times the stock's average daily trading volume. Considering the stock's lackluster performance, this bearish sentiment comes as not surprise.