Agilent Technologies Inc.
) touched a new 52-week high, touching $58.54 during the trading
session on Jan 8, 2014. The closing price of this io-analytical
and electronic measurement solutions and services company
represents a solid year-to-date return of 3.9%. The trading
volume for the session was over 2.6 million shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock
has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions
over the last 60 days.
Agilent beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the fourth quarter
of fiscal 2013. Earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5
cents or 6.1%. The increase in earnings was primarily due to
stronger product mix and solid expense management.
Revenues of $1.72 billion were up 4.0% sequentially but down 2.8%
year over year, missing the consensus mark by 13.0%. Unfavorable
currency changes accounted for a 1.5% decline in revenues
although the impact of acquisitions was immaterial.
Earlier, the company announced a restructuring initiative that
would, after completion, result in a reduction of its workforce
by 450 and generate cost savings in the neighborhood of $50
million a year.
The company continues to do extremely well in Life Sciences and
Chemical Analysis segments and its decision to spin off the
underperforming electronics measurement business makes perfect
sense under the circumstances.
Key Growth Catalysts
On Jan 7, 2014, Agilent announced that the name of the electronic
measurement company it expects to spin off in early November will
be Keysight Technologies. Keysight will be headquartered in Santa
Rosa, Calif. In Sep 2013, Agilent announced that the two would
trade as separate publicly traded companies.
It went on to declare that the company dealing with life
sciences, diagnostics and applied markets (LDA) will retain the
name "Agilent." However, the name of the other company dealing in
electronic measurement (EM) products was not revealed at that
time. The spinoff should help enhance the level of efficiency and
foster growth going forward.
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Estimate Revisions Show Potency
Over the last 60 days, 8 of the 14 estimates for 2014 have been
revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings
per share by 0.3% to $3.18 per share. For 2015, 6 of the 14
estimates moved north.
A number of other technology stocks also touched 52-week highs on
Jan 8. These include