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Marsh & McLennan Roaring Ahead

By Tim Plaehn   |   Friday, 25 Nov 2011 04:38 PM

Insurance broker and risk consultant Marsh & McLennan (MMC) has posted strong revenue and growth results for the first half of 2011 and the company's share price has fared significantly better than competitors such as Aon (AON) and Brown & Brown (BRO).

Marsh & McLennan provides insurance broker, risk management and human resources services through four separate, wholly owned subsidiaries: Marsh for insurance brokerage, Guy Carpenter for risk and reinsurance consulting and brokerage, Mercer for human resources and financial advice, and the Oliver Wyman Group as management consultants.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenues reached $2.8 billion, up from $2.5 billion the previous year. Diluted net income per share for the period was 23 cents, up from 22 cents. For the full year, Wall Street analysts have a consensus earnings estimate of $1.82, compared to the $1.64 earned in 2010.

Paying back

In an effort to return profits to investors, the board of directors recently boosted the authorized share buyback program to $1 billion, up from the previously authorized $500 million. Also, in the third quarter of 2010, March & McLennan boosted the dividend by a penny after three years of no change to the distribution rate.

The dividend payout has again been increased by another penny so far in 2011. MMC currently yields 3.1 percent.

The most recent reports on MMC have been upgrades. The analysts at RBC Capital Markets increased their rating to outperform up from sector perform and increased the target price by $3. Barclays Capital analysts upgraded MMC from underweight to equal weight with an $11 increase in their target price.

The company next reports on Feb. 1.

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Insurance broker and risk consultant Marsh McLennan (MMC) has posted strong revenue and growth results for the first half of 2011 and the company's share price has fared significantly better than competitors such as Aon (AON) and Brown Brown (BRO). Marsh McLennan...
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