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Will Q1 Earnings Hold a Surprise for Aon (AON) Stock?

Aon plc AON is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 29, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 8.61%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to be Considered this Quarter

Aon is likely to have witnessed organic growth in its Risk Solutions business despite volatile macroeconomic conditions and soft pricing in certain areas. This growth was likely driven by generation of new business, strong retention rates, and returns on the company’s investments in industry leading data and analytics.

The insurance broker is anticipated to deliver solid operational improvement as well as strong operating margins on the back of robust new business generation and increased operating leverage in the business.

In addition, the company is likely to have experienced operational improvement in its HR Solutions segment in the to-be-reported quarter.

Moreover, share buybacks are likely to boost the bottom line of the company.

However, Aon is likely to have faced intense competition, from the insurers and reinsurers, which in turn are likely to hurt its business opportunities. Thus, increased competition is anticipated to weigh on the top-line growth. Also, the company is likely to have witnessed unfavorable foreign currency impact of about 10 cents per share.

Further, a high financial leverage is expected to increase the company’s interest expense tapering margin expansion.

With respect to the surprise trend, Aon delivered positive surprises in all of the last four quarters with an average beat of 4.29%.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Aon is likely to beat on earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Aon has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at $1.33.

Zacks Rank: Aon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, an ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies from the insurance industry that you may want to consider as these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Arthur J Gallagher & Co. AJG has an Earnings ESP of +3.45% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is slated to report first-quarter earnings on Apr 28.

Validus Holdings, Ltd. VR has an Earnings ESP of +3.85% and a Zacks Rank #2. The company is set to report first-quarter earnings on Apr 28.

CNA Financial Corporation CNA has an Earnings ESP of +13.33% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is set to report first-quarter earnings on May 2.

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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
 
AON PLC (AON): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
VALIDUS HOLDING (VR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GALLAGHER ARTHU (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CNA FINL CORP (CNA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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