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Aon Reaches New 52-Week High on Strong Q1, Dividend Hike

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On May 31, 2016, shares of Aon plcAON hit a 52-week high of $109.65, driven by better-than-expected first-quarter 2016 results and dividend hike. About three million shares exchanged hands in the last trading session and the stock finally closed at $109.27, up 0.6%. Year to date, the stock has returned 18.5%, comparing favorably with 2.6% by S&P.

Aon's operating earnings of $1.26 per share in the first quarter surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.5% driven by a decline in total operating expense and a lower share count resulting from share repurchases during the quarter. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) insurance broker delivered positive surprises in the last four quarters, with an average beat of 3.12%.

Expenses decreased on account of favorable forex, decline in expenses related to net divestitures and lower intangible asset amortization. Operating margin thus expanded 20 basis points to 18.5% in the quarter.

Aon's Risk Solution segment performed better than the HR Solutions' segment in the first quarter.

Also, riding on the strength of its operational performance, the company engaged in effective capital deployment that in turn enhanced shareholders' value. Aon bought back about $750 million worth shares in the first quarter. In addition, the board of directors approved a 10% increase in its quarterly dividend.

These positives drove the Zacks Consensus Estimate higher on upward revisions in the last 30 days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate increased 0.8% to $6.57 for 2016 and 0.4% to $7.32 for 2017. The long-term earnings growth rate is expected to be 11%.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked insurers are Hannover Rück SE HVRRY , Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. MMC and Trupanion, Inc. TRUP . Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

TRUPANION INC (TRUP): Free Stock Analysis Report

MARSH &MCLENNAN (MMC): Free Stock Analysis Report

AON PLC (AON): Free Stock Analysis Report

HANNOVER RUECKV (HVRRY): Free Stock Analysis Report

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


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

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