Zacks Investment Research Lowers Aon PLC (AON) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published 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.”

AON has been the subject of several other research reports. Morgan Stanley restated an equal weight rating and set a $138.00 price objective (up previously from $130.00) on shares of Aon PLC in a research report on Thursday, July 6th. ValuEngine lowered shares of Aon PLC from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. BidaskClub lowered shares of Aon PLC from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, August 18th. Barclays PLC increased their price target on shares of Aon PLC from $135.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock an equal weight rating in a research report on Monday, October 16th. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reaffirmed a hold rating on shares of Aon PLC in a research report on Monday, October 30th. One equities 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 company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $144.42.

Shares of Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) opened at $143.25 on Tuesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.08, a current ratio of 2.35 and a quick ratio of 2.35. Aon PLC has a twelve month low of $109.18 and a twelve month high of $152.78. The firm has a market cap of $35,797.84, a PE ratio of 21.22, a P/E/G ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 1.06.

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

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 1st will be given a dividend of $0.36 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 31st. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.01%. Aon PLC’s payout ratio is currently 21.79%.

In other news, CEO Michael J. O’connor sold 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $145.00, for a total transaction of $1,450,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 123,805 shares in the company, valued at approximately $17,951,725. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. grew its position in shares of Aon PLC by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 900,702 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $131,593,000 after purchasing an additional 15,474 shares during the period. Commonwealth Bank of Australia lifted its stake in Aon PLC by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 23,250 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,389,000 after acquiring an additional 1,093 shares in the last quarter. Zeke Capital Advisors LLC lifted its stake in Aon PLC by 41.4% in the 3rd quarter. Zeke Capital Advisors LLC now owns 3,853 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $563,000 after acquiring an additional 1,128 shares in the last quarter. Auxier Asset Management bought a new stake in Aon PLC in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $206,000. Finally, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS lifted its stake in Aon PLC by 6.2% in the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 20,684 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,022,000 after acquiring an additional 1,214 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 88.46% of the company’s stock.

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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