Arthur J Gallagher & Co. Upped to Buy - Analyst Blog

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On Oct 1, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Arthur J Gallagher & Co . ( AJG ) to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Arthur J Gallagher & Co. has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of its impressive inorganic growth story. Moreover, with respect to its earnings performance this insurance broker delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters, with an average beat of 8.7%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 13%.    

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 0.5% to $2.21 per share as 4 of 12 estimates were revised higher over the last 30 days. For 2014, the same number of estimates moved north over the same time frame, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.6% to $2.59 per share.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. undertakes acquisitions to augment its product and service offerings as well as to expand its international exposure. The company made six acquisitions in the third quarter. This also compares favorably with five acquisitions (with annualized revenues totaling $35.9 million) closed successfully in the preceding quarter. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.'s strong financial position continues to support its acquisition strategy.

The series of recent acquisitions include adding New York-based fine arts broker team of Jeffrey Haber and Michael Fischman; Kent, England-based Belmont International; Eau Claire, Wis.-based R. W. Scobie, Inc.; and, London-based Giles Group of Companies to its portfolio. In August, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co added Ottawa, Ontario-based Dickinson & Associates, Inc. and Short Hills, N.J.-based Bollinger, Inc.

In the last reported quarter, Arthur J Gallagher & Co. posted earnings of 73 cents, 5.8% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. We expect Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. to deliver another positive earnings surprise when it reports its third quarter results. This is because our proven model shows that the insurance broker has the right combination of a positive Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank.  Expected Surprise Prediction or ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is +3.23%.

Other Stocks to Consider

Insurance brokers Brown & Brown Inc . ( BRO ) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Aon plc ( AON ) and eHealth, Inc . ( EHTH ), both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) are worth considering.



GALLAGHER ARTHU (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report

AON PLC (AON): Free Stock Analysis Report

BROWN & BROWN (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report

EHEALTH INC (EHTH): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AJG , AON , BRO , EHTH

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