Agilent Technologies (A) Upgraded to Buy by Zacks Investment Research

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday. The firm presently has a $88.00 target price on the medical research company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 12.98% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Agilent reported strong fiscal first-quarter results on broad-based growth in all its product lines. The company also raised its guidance for full year 2019. The company’s expanding product portfolio, end-market strength and robust performance in Americas, China and Europe are key growth drivers. Moreover, the company’s decision to divest/wind up underperforming businesses is beneficial for its core operations. Further, the company’s focus on aligning investments towards more attractive growth avenues and innovative high-margin product launches are positive. Notably, shares of Agilent have outperformed the industry it belongs to over a year. However, macro weakness in some regions and unfavorable foreign exchange remain concerns. Also, higher expenses are making margin expansion difficult for Agilent.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Barclays increased their price objective on shares of Agilent Technologies from $80.00 to $83.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased their price objective on shares of Agilent Technologies to $85.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday. Janney Montgomery Scott reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $90.00 price objective (up from $80.00) on shares of Agilent Technologies in a research report on Thursday. Bank of America reissued a “buy” rating and set a $87.00 price target (up from $78.00) on shares of Agilent Technologies in a research report on Thursday. Finally, Deutsche Bank reissued a “buy” rating and set a $90.00 price target on shares of Agilent Technologies in a research report on Thursday. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $85.30.

NYSE:A opened at $77.89 on Friday. Agilent Technologies has a fifty-two week low of $60.42 and a fifty-two week high of $78.79. The stock has a market capitalization of $24.95 billion, a PE ratio of 27.92, a PEG ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 1.33. The company has a current ratio of 3.29, a quick ratio of 2.74 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39.

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, February 20th. The medical research company reported $0.76 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.73 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $1.28 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.27 billion. Agilent Technologies had a net margin of 22.86% and a return on equity of 20.39%. Agilent Technologies’s revenue was up 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.66 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Agilent Technologies will post 3.04 EPS for the current year.

Agilent Technologies declared that its board has initiated a share repurchase program on Monday, November 19th that allows the company to buyback $1.75 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the medical research company to purchase up to 8.8% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, insider Dominique Grau sold 8,902 shares of Agilent Technologies stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.00, for a total transaction of $685,454.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 103,387 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,960,799. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, CEO Michael R. Mcmullen sold 8,746 shares of Agilent Technologies stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $77.67, for a total transaction of $679,301.82. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 447,684 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $34,771,616.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 61,464 shares of company stock valued at $4,607,482 over the last three months.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Findlay Park Partners LLP acquired a new stake in Agilent Technologies in the 4th quarter valued at $246,229,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its stake in Agilent Technologies by 6,563.5% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,338,299 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $35,000 after acquiring an additional 2,303,208 shares during the period. Marshall Wace LLP grew its stake in Agilent Technologies by 170.0% in the 3rd quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 2,649,502 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $186,896,000 after acquiring an additional 1,668,360 shares during the period. Point72 Asset Management L.P. grew its stake in Agilent Technologies by 1,375.4% in the 3rd quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,504,860 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $106,153,000 after acquiring an additional 1,402,860 shares during the period. Finally, Pendal Group Ltd grew its stake in Agilent Technologies by 17,076.7% in the 4th quarter. Pendal Group Ltd now owns 1,227,965 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $71,925,000 after acquiring an additional 1,220,816 shares during the period.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies, Inc provides application focused solutions to the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets worldwide. It operates through three segments: Life Sciences and Applied Markets, Diagnostics and Genomics, and Agilent CrossLab. The Life Sciences and Applied Markets segment offers liquid chromatography systems and components; liquid chromatography mass spectrometry systems; gas chromatography systems and components; gas chromatography mass spectrometry systems; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry instruments; atomic absorption instruments; microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometry instruments; inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry instruments; raman spectroscopy; cell analysis plate based assays; flow cytometer; real-time cell analyzer; laboratory software and information management and analytics; laboratory automation and robotic systems; dissolution testing; vacuum pumps; and measurement technologies.

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