Agilent Technologies Inc (NYSE:A) shares shot up 7.8% during mid-day trading on Tuesday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The company traded as high as $68.43 and last traded at $67.52. 7,988,326 shares were traded during mid-day trading, an increase of 208% from the average session volume of 2,593,322 shares. The stock had previously closed at $62.61.

The medical research company reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.07. Agilent Technologies had a net margin of 6.20% and a return on equity of 18.61%. The firm had revenue of $1.29 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.26 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.67 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.8% on a year-over-year basis.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 23rd. Investors of record on Monday, December 31st will be given a dividend of $0.164 per share. This represents a $0.66 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.97%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 28th. This is an increase from Agilent Technologies’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.15. Agilent Technologies’s dividend payout ratio is 25.42%.

A number of research firms have commented on A. Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Agilent Technologies from $86.00 to $89.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Agilent Technologies from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $74.00 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, August 7th. Deutsche Bank increased their price objective on shares of Agilent Technologies from $77.00 to $80.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 15th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Agilent Technologies from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Agilent Technologies from a “buy” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $77.78.

In related news, Director Heidi Fields sold 5,482 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.73, for a total transaction of $371,295.86. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Director Paul N. Clark sold 2,876 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.60, for a total transaction of $197,293.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of A. OppenheimerFunds Inc. boosted its position in shares of Agilent Technologies by 64.0% during the 2nd quarter. OppenheimerFunds Inc. now owns 7,636,621 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $472,248,000 after purchasing an additional 2,980,216 shares during the period. Point72 Asset Management L.P. boosted its position in shares of Agilent Technologies by 1,375.4% during the 3rd quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. now owns 1,504,860 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $106,153,000 after purchasing an additional 1,402,860 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its position in shares of Agilent Technologies by 30.3% during the 2nd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,585,162 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $283,546,000 after purchasing an additional 1,065,877 shares during the period. Marshall Wace LLP boosted its position in shares of Agilent Technologies by 1,831.9% during the 2nd quarter. Marshall Wace LLP now owns 981,142 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $60,674,000 after purchasing an additional 930,356 shares during the period. Finally, Pictet Asset Management Ltd. boosted its position in shares of Agilent Technologies by 26.9% during the 3rd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 2,350,857 shares of the medical research company’s stock worth $165,829,000 after purchasing an additional 498,430 shares during the period.

The company has a current ratio of 3.62, a quick ratio of 3.00 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39. The stock has a market capitalization of $20.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.61, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 1.35.

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Agilent Technologies Company Profile (NYSE:A)

Agilent Technologies, Inc provides application focused solutions to the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets worldwide. It operates in 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; microfluidics based automated electrophoresis products; cell analysis plate based assays; laboratory software and informatics systems; laboratory automation; dissolution testing; vacuum pumps; and measurement technologies.

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