Aon PLC (AON) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Tuesday, October 31st.

According to Zacks, “Aon’s third-quarter earnings not only surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also increased significantly from the year-ago quarter. The company’s shares have outperformed the industry in a year's time. Its core business strengthening initiatives, efficient capital deployment, strong cash flow position and cost savings from its restructuring programs bode well for long-term growth. The company divested its non-core HR BPO business to Blackstone in order to streamline its core operations. However, its rising level of debt continues to bother. This results in increased expenses that weigh on the bottom line. Aon’s geographically diversified operations are also exposed to foreign currency fluctuations.”

Other analysts have also issued reports about the company. ValuEngine upgraded Aon PLC from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub lowered Aon PLC from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, August 18th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a buy rating and set a $162.00 target price (up previously from $146.00) on shares of Aon PLC in a report on Monday, July 24th. Citigroup Inc. upped their target price on Aon PLC from $144.00 to $155.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 13th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a buy rating and set a $154.00 target price on shares of Aon PLC in a report on Monday, October 16th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $144.42.

Aon PLC (AON) traded down $0.10 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $141.18. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 912,114 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,260,603. Aon PLC has a 1 year low of $109.82 and a 1 year high of $152.78. The company has a current ratio of 2.35, a quick ratio of 2.35 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.08. The firm has a market capitalization of $35,280.55, a PE ratio of 20.92, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.83 and a beta of 1.06.

Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) last posted its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.29 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.28 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $2.34 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.29 billion. Aon PLC had a return on equity of 32.71% and a net margin of 16.78%. The company’s revenue was up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.29 earnings per share. equities analysts expect that Aon PLC will post 6.53 earnings per share for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 1st were paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.02%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, October 31st. Aon PLC’s payout ratio is presently 21.79%.

In other news, CEO Michael J. O’connor sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, September 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $140.28, for a total value of $1,402,800.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 123,805 shares in the company, valued at approximately $17,367,365.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Insiders sold a total of 40,000 shares of company stock valued at $5,720,400 over the last quarter. 0.90% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC bought a new position in Aon PLC during the 3rd quarter worth $121,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in Aon PLC by 0.9% during the 3rd quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors LLC now owns 56,151 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $8,204,000 after acquiring an additional 495 shares during the period. California Public Employees Retirement System grew its holdings in Aon PLC by 5.0% during the 3rd quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 700,844 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $102,393,000 after acquiring an additional 33,364 shares during the period. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC acquired a new stake in Aon PLC during the 3rd quarter worth about $496,000. Finally, Valeo Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Aon PLC during the 3rd quarter worth about $105,000. 88.74% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Aon PLC Company Profile

Aon plc (Aon) is a global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing, delivering distinctive client value via risk management and workforce productivity solutions. The Company operates in two segments: Risk Solutions and Human Resource (HR) Solutions.

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