Shares of Agilent Technologies Inc. (A - Analyst Report) 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.
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 Sunedison Inc. , Juniper Networks (JNPR - Analyst Report) and Pandora Media (P - Snapshot Report) .