Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday. The firm currently has $52.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Agilent Technologies is a broad-based OEM of test and measurement equipment. The company’s decision to divest/wind up underperforming businesses has enhanced its focus on the new Agilent, while enabling expansion of a solid recurring revenue base and diversification of geographic and industrial operations for growth. Also, the company’s focus on aligning investments so as to be oriented toward more attractive growth avenues and innovative high-margin product launches are positives.  Agilent’s broad-based portfolio and increased focus on segments offer higher growth potential. However, the macro weakness in the U.S. and Europe and forex headwinds may temper revenue growth with the significant increase in operating expenses impacting the bottom line.”

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on A. Morgan Stanley set a $47.00 target price on Agilent Technologies and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Leerink Swann reissued an outperform rating and issued a $51.00 target price on shares of Agilent Technologies in a report on Thursday, June 30th. Cowen and Company raised their target price on Agilent Technologies from $49.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Robert W. Baird raised their target price on Agilent Technologies from $48.00 to $52.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, August 18th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reissued a buy rating and issued a $53.00 target price on shares of Agilent Technologies in a report on Wednesday, September 7th. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $48.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A)

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) traded down 0.19% during trading on Wednesday, reaching $47.06. 392,286 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. Agilent Technologies has a 52 week low of $34.15 and a 52 week high of $48.63. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $46.63 and a 200 day moving average price of $44.65. The firm has a market capitalization of $15.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.64 and a beta of 1.35.

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, August 17th. The company reported $0.49 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.47 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.05 billion. Agilent Technologies had a net margin of 11.59% and a return on equity of 14.97%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.44 earnings per share. Equities research analysts forecast that Agilent Technologies will post $1.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 26th. Investors of record on Tuesday, October 4th will be paid a dividend of $0.115 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, September 30th. This represents a $0.46 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.98%. Agilent Technologies’s dividend payout ratio is currently 31.72%.

In related news, Director Boon Hwee Koh sold 5,298 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $47.66, for a total value of $252,502.68. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Heidi Fields sold 8,072 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.99, for a total value of $379,303.28. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 51,836 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,435,773.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Cribstone Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Agilent Technologies during the second quarter worth $102,000. ClariVest Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Agilent Technologies during the second quarter worth $105,000. CENTRAL TRUST Co increased its stake in Agilent Technologies by 1.3% in the second quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 2,596 shares of the company’s stock worth $115,000 after buying an additional 34 shares during the period. Trust Department MB Financial Bank N A increased its stake in Agilent Technologies by 3,166.4% in the second quarter. Trust Department MB Financial Bank N A now owns 3,887 shares of the company’s stock worth $150,000 after buying an additional 3,768 shares during the period. Finally, JFS Wealth Advisors LLC increased its stake in Agilent Technologies by 7,555.6% in the second quarter. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 3,445 shares of the company’s stock worth $153,000 after buying an additional 3,400 shares during the period.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies, Inc provides application focused solutions that include instruments, software, services and consumables for the entire laboratory workflow. The Company serves the life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets. It has three business segments: life sciences and applied markets business, diagnostics and genomics business, and Agilent CrossLab business.

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