Aon plc Class A (AON) Cut to “Strong Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Aon’s shares have underperformed the industry in the last six months. The company’s rising level of debt continues to bother. This results in increased interest expenses that weigh on the bottom line. Also, Aon’s geographically diversified operations are exposed to foreign currency fluctuations. However, 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 has recently divested its non-core HR BPO business to Blackstone in order to streamline its core operations.”

Several other research analysts also recently weighed in on AON. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Aon plc Class A from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Jefferies Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $162.00 price target on shares of Aon plc Class A in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Barclays boosted their price target on shares of Aon plc Class A from $135.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Monday, October 16th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $154.00 price target on shares of Aon plc Class A in a research note on Monday, October 16th. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Aon plc Class A in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have issued a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. Aon plc Class A currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $144.69.

Shares of Aon plc Class A (AON) traded up $0.10 during trading on Thursday, reaching $135.18. 1,297,793 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 864,880. The company has a market cap of $33,781.21, a P/E ratio of 20.45, a P/E/G ratio of 1.43 and a beta of 1.04. 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 Class A has a one year low of $109.82 and a one year high of $152.78.

Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) last issued its earnings results on Friday, October 27th. The financial services provider reported $1.29 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.28 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $2.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.29 billion. Aon plc Class A had a net margin of 16.78% and a return on equity of 32.71%. Aon plc Class A’s quarterly revenue was up 6.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.29 EPS. analysts anticipate that Aon plc Class A will post 6.52 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CEO Eric Andersen sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $143.52, for a total transaction of $1,435,200.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO John Zern sold 17,680 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $139.79, for a total transaction of $2,471,487.20. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 27,695 shares in the company, valued at $3,871,484.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 41,680 shares of company stock worth $5,903,887. Corporate insiders own 0.90% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 3rd quarter valued at about $105,000. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 3rd quarter valued at about $121,000. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 2nd quarter valued at about $139,000. BB&T Investment Services Inc. raised its position in shares of Aon plc Class A by 71.3% during the 3rd quarter. BB&T Investment Services Inc. now owns 1,038 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $136,000 after buying an additional 432 shares in the last quarter. Finally, San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA purchased a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 2nd quarter valued at about $146,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 87.54% of the company’s stock.

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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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