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Agilent (A) Hikes Quarterly Dividend to Reward Shareholders

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Agilent Technologies (A - Free Report) recently announced that the board of directors has increased its quarterly dividend. In fact, the company has been consistently rewarding its shareholders through dividends.

Agilent’s shares have gained 17.3% on a year-to-date basis, underperforming 24.9% rally of the industry it belongs to.

The company’s investor-friendly announcement might give a lift to the stock.

Shareholder-Friendly Move

Agilent — a broad-based OEM of test and measurement equipment — raised quarterly dividend to 18 cents per share, reflecting an increase of 10% from the previous quarter’s dividend.

The new dividend, which has been approved by the board of directors, will be paid to investors on Jan 22, 2020.

We believe that the dividend hike not only highlights the firm’s commitment toward creating value for its shareholders but also underlines the company’s financial condition and confidence in business. Agilent has a stable dividend payment history, as is evident from past records.

Agilent Technologies, Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Bottom Line

Agilent has a strong capital management policy in place. Based in Palo Alto, CA, the company’s initiatives are well supported by solid cash flow generation, which in turn is driven by sustained solid operational performance.

Moreover, Agilent’s efforts to enhance shareholder wealth through dividends are impressive. In third-quarter fiscal 2019, the company bought back shares worth $549 million, totaling 8 million shares, and paid $51 million in dividends. Cash and cash equivalents were $1.8 billion in the last reported quarter.

We believe that dividend hikes are a good way of building investor confidence, as these enhance shareholder value.

Agilent is set to report fiscal fourth-quarter 2019 results on Nov 25.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, the company expects to post revenues between $1.31 billion and $1.33 billion, and earnings per share in the range of 84-86 cents. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues and earnings per share is pegged at $1.33 billion and 86 cents, respectively.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Currently, Agilent carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Advantest Corp. (ATEYY - Free Report) , Itron, Inc. (ITRI - Free Report) and AMETEK, Inc. (AME - Free Report) . While Advantest sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Itron and AMETEK carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth for Advantest, Itron and AMETEK is currently projected at 15.5%, 25% and 10.9%, respectively.

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