Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Aon plc Class A (AON) to “Buy”

Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Monday. The brokerage presently has a $147.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 12.68% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Aon’s core business strengthening initiatives, efficient capital deployment, strong cash flow position and cost savings from its restructuring programs pave the way for long-term growth. The company divested its non-core HR BPO business to Blackstone. Strong merger and acquisition activities, divestitures and restructuring initiatives position the company favorably for the long run. As a result, the stock has gained 18% year to date compared with 13.5% increase of the Zacks Insurance Brokerage industry. In addition, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both 2017 and 2018 have revised upward significantly over past thirty days since it has released strong first quarter results.However, heavy debt burden and associated interest expenses raise concern. Stiff competition, ongoing legal hassles and foreign currency fluctuations remain major headwinds.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded shares of Aon plc Class A to a “sell” rating and set a $115.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Saturday, February 11th. Citigroup Inc lifted their price objective on shares of Aon plc Class A from $130.00 to $136.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, April 7th. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their price objective on shares of Aon plc Class A from $108.00 to $113.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, May 12th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $146.00 price objective (up previously from $137.00) on shares of Aon plc Class A in a research report on Tuesday, May 9th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Aon plc Class A in a research report on Sunday, April 16th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $126.10.

Analyst Recommendations for Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON)

Shares of Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) opened at 130.46 on Monday. Aon plc Class A has a one year low of $100.55 and a one year high of $132.34. The company has a 50-day moving average of $124.69 and a 200-day moving average of $117.52. The company has a market capitalization of $34.19 billion, a PE ratio of 25.77 and a beta of 1.01.

Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, May 9th. The financial services provider reported $1.45 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.28 by $0.17. The business had revenue of $2.38 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.35 billion. Aon plc Class A had a net margin of 12.01% and a return on equity of 32.46%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.35 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Aon plc Class A will post $6.48 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, May 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, May 1st were paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, April 27th. This is a boost from Aon plc Class A’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.33. Aon plc Class A’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 25.53%.

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In other Aon plc Class A news, EVP Peter M. Lieb sold 2,000 shares of Aon plc Class A stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.40, for a total value of $260,800.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 20,216 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,636,166.40. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Peter M. Lieb sold 16,683 shares of Aon plc Class A stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $117.29, for a total transaction of $1,956,749.07. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 22,216 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,605,714.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 22,683 shares of company stock valued at $2,722,309 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of AON. State Street Corp boosted its stake in shares of Aon plc Class A by 8.0% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 14,176,337 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,581,093,000 after buying an additional 1,045,503 shares during the period. Boston Partners boosted its stake in shares of Aon plc Class A by 2.4% in the third quarter. Boston Partners now owns 5,704,186 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $641,664,000 after buying an additional 135,896 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the fourth quarter valued at $437,213,000. Janus Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in shares of Aon plc Class A by 20.3% in the fourth quarter. Janus Capital Management LLC now owns 2,402,568 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $267,959,000 after buying an additional 405,618 shares during the period. Finally, DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the fourth quarter valued at $180,934,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 83.61% of the company’s stock.

About Aon plc Class A

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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