Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) shares hit a new 52-week high during mid-day trading on Monday after Zacks Investment Research upgraded the stock from a hold rating to a buy rating. Zacks Investment Research now has a $147.00 price target on the stock. Aon PLC traded as high as $125.44 and last traded at $125.61, with a volume of 468,197 shares trading hands. The stock had previously closed at $124.24.

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.”

Several other research analysts have also issued reports on the company. Wells Fargo & Company restated a “hold” rating on shares of Aon PLC in a research report on Sunday, April 16th. Credit Suisse Group restated a “sell” rating and set a $122.00 target price on shares of Aon PLC in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th. Citigroup Inc. boosted their price target on Aon PLC from $130.00 to $136.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, April 7th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $146.00 price target (up previously from $137.00) on shares of Aon PLC in a report on Tuesday, May 9th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on Aon PLC from $108.00 to $113.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 12th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. Aon PLC currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $126.10.

In other Aon PLC news, SVP Laurel G. Meissner sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $126.19, for a total value of $504,760.00. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 16,314 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,058,663.66. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Peter M. Lieb sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 25th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.40, for a total transaction of $260,800.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 20,216 shares in the company, valued at $2,636,166.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 22,683 shares of company stock worth $2,722,309. 1.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of AON. Cleararc Capital Inc. raised its position in shares of Aon PLC by 0.9% in the first quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 6,444 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $765,000 after buying an additional 56 shares in the last quarter. Financial Counselors Inc. raised its position in shares of Aon PLC by 1.6% in the first quarter. Financial Counselors Inc. now owns 3,641 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $432,000 after buying an additional 57 shares in the last quarter. Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC raised its position in shares of Aon PLC by 0.8% in the fourth quarter. Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC now owns 17,231 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,922,000 after buying an additional 136 shares in the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in shares of Aon PLC by 10.4% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 3,295 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $391,000 after buying an additional 310 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of Aon PLC by 15.9% in the first quarter. Douglass Winthrop Advisors LLC now owns 3,025 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $359,000 after buying an additional 414 shares in the last quarter. 86.01% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The company has a market cap of $35.76 billion, a PE ratio of 26.96 and a beta of 1.00. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $127.94 and its 200 day moving average price is $118.61.

Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 9th. The financial services provider reported $1.45 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.28 by $0.17. The firm had revenue of $2.38 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.35 billion. Aon PLC had a net margin of 12.23% and a return on equity of 32.34%. The firm’s revenue was up 4.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $1.35 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Aon PLC will post $6.48 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Aon PLC 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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