Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report released 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.”

A number of other research analysts have also commented on AON. ValuEngine lowered Aon plc Class A from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, October 2nd. Jefferies Group reissued a buy rating and set a $162.00 price objective on shares of Aon plc Class A in a report on Friday, October 13th. Barclays increased their price objective on Aon plc Class A from $135.00 to $140.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Monday, October 16th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and set a $154.00 price objective on shares of Aon plc Class A in a report on Monday, October 16th. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reissued a hold rating on shares of Aon plc Class A in a report on Monday, October 30th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $144.69.

Shares of Aon plc Class A (NYSE:AON) traded up $0.10 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $135.18. The stock had a trading volume of 1,300,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,100,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.08, a quick ratio of 2.35 and a current ratio of 2.35. The firm has a market cap of $33,760.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 35.30, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.44 and a beta of 1.04. Aon plc Class A has a fifty-two week low of $109.82 and a fifty-two week high of $152.78.

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

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, February 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 1st will be issued a $0.36 dividend. This represents a $1.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.07%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, January 31st. Aon plc Class A’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 37.60%.

In other Aon plc Class A news, SVP Laurel G. Meissner sold 4,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.20, for a total value of $564,800.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now owns 12,314 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,738,736.80. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO John Zern sold 17,680 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $139.79, for a total value of $2,471,487.20. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 27,695 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,871,484.05. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 41,680 shares of company stock worth $5,903,887 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 0.90% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in AON. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $105,000. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $121,000. BB&T Investment Services Inc. grew its holdings 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 worth $136,000 after purchasing an additional 432 shares in the last quarter. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $139,000. Finally, San Francisco Sentry Investment Group CA acquired a new stake in shares of Aon plc Class A during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $146,000. 87.54% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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

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