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07/17/2013

First Cash earnings dip but shares up

Arlington-based First Cash Financial Services said it earned $15.7 million, or 53 cents a share, in the second quarter, down from 56 cents a year earlier and below Wall Street's expectation, also 56 cents, on revenues of $143 million. The operator of pawn shops and consumer lending stores said it took a charge of 4 cents a share in the quarter to reflect costs related to its purchase of a 19-store pawn chain that closed at the end of the quarter. First Cash confirmed its previous guidance for 2013, however, and the company's shares (ticker: FCFS) were up about 2 percent in early trading.

Like Fort Worth-based Cash America International two days earlier, First Cash said demand for payday and pawn loans was weaker than expected. Cash America trimmed its profit outlook significantly from earlier forecasts, and its shares fell Monday and Tuesday a total of about 8 percent. Cash America plans to report full earnings July 25.

First Cash CEO Rick Wessel said same-store pawn operations were up 9 percent, with especially good growth in Mexico, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of revenue. He said the acquisition of Valu + Pawn for $70 million was the largest in the company's history and gave First Cash a presence in Houston.

-- Jim Fuquay

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