Aon Profit Plunges 86% But Shares Rise

CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- Aon's ( AOC) second-quarter profit plunged 86%, but that didn't stop investors from propping up its shares in morning trading Thursday.

During the quarter the company earned $149 million, or 52 cents a share, far below the profit of $1.1 billion, or $3.71 a share, Aon posted a year ago. Last year's results included a $1 billion gain from the sale of the company's insurance underwriting units.

Excluding items, income reached 76 cents a share in the just-ended period, beating analysts' expectations of 74 cents and coming in above the 70 cents it earned per share a year ago (which strips out proceeds from the sale of the underwriting business).

Revenue fell 4% to $1.89 billion, while investment income tumbled 69% to $21 million.

Aon said the strength of the U.S. dollar also shaved 3 cents off income.

Shares rose 5% to $40.05 in morning trading.

On Wednesday, rival Willis ( WSH) reported that its second-quarter earnings more than doubled to $91 million as commission and fee income grew.

And earlier this week, insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher ( AJG) also saw its quarterly profit rise 7% due to higher commissions and fees.

-Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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