Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports.

According to Zacks, “Agilent reported weak fiscal second-quarter results due to slowing global demand in small molecule Pharma and softness in the China Food market. However, Agilent saw notable improvement across its other product lines. Moreover, its strengthening position in Americas, China and Europe remain the key growth drivers. Additionally, the company’s decision to wind up its underperforming businesses is benefiting its core operations. Further, the company’s focus on aligning investments towards more attractive growth avenues and innovative high-margin product launches are major positives. Notably, the stock has underperformed 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 the company.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Bank of America reduced their price target on Agilent Technologies from $88.00 to $82.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 15th. Deutsche Bank reduced their price target on Agilent Technologies from $90.00 to $85.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 15th. Barclays reduced their price target on Agilent Technologies from $88.00 to $86.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, May 15th. Cowen boosted their price target on Agilent Technologies from $80.00 to $90.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Tuesday, March 26th. Finally, UBS Group started coverage on Agilent Technologies in a report on Friday, March 15th. They set a buy rating and a $92.00 price target on the stock. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $86.58.

Shares of NYSE A opened at $69.11 on Thursday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, a current ratio of 3.41 and a quick ratio of 2.79. The stock has a market cap of $21.94 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.77, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.93 and a beta of 1.33. Agilent Technologies has a 12 month low of $60.42 and a 12 month high of $82.27.

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, May 14th. The medical research company reported $0.71 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $1.24 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.27 billion. Agilent Technologies had a return on equity of 19.71% and a net margin of 22.25%. The firm’s revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.65 EPS. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Agilent Technologies will post 3.05 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, April 24th. Investors of record on Tuesday, April 2nd were issued a $0.164 dividend. This represents a $0.66 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, April 1st. Agilent Technologies’s payout ratio is presently 23.66%.

In related news, VP Mark Doak sold 16,421 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.95, for a total value of $1,280,016.95. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, VP Rodney Gonsalves sold 6,155 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $79.79, for a total value of $491,107.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 48,583 shares of company stock worth $3,855,924 over the last quarter.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. IFM Investors Pty Ltd boosted its holdings in shares of Agilent Technologies by 9.4% during the 4th quarter. IFM Investors Pty Ltd now owns 18,362 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,239,000 after buying an additional 1,574 shares in the last quarter. BTIM Corp. boosted its holdings in shares of Agilent Technologies by 21.9% during the 4th quarter. BTIM Corp. now owns 58,267 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $3,931,000 after buying an additional 10,475 shares in the last quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Agilent Technologies during the 1st quarter worth approximately $2,275,000. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI boosted its holdings in shares of Agilent Technologies by 5.5% during the 4th quarter. Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft FI now owns 25,866 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $1,745,000 after buying an additional 1,343 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kiwi Wealth Investments Limited Partnership bought a new position in shares of Agilent Technologies during the 4th quarter worth approximately $773,000.

Agilent Technologies Company Profile

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.

Further Reading: Momentum Investing

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Agilent Technologies (A)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A)

Receive News & Ratings for Agilent Technologies Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Agilent Technologies and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.