What Analysts Have to Say About Agilent Technologies After Earnings

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After Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) reported its fiscal second-quarter financial results late on Monday, investors were very happy with the beats on both the top and bottom lines. Analysts also took this opportunity to lift their price targets on the stock.

24/7 Wall St. has included some highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts are saying after the fact.

The company said that it had $0.58 in earnings per share (EPS) and $1.1 billion in revenue, versus consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.48 in EPS and revenue of $1.05 billion. In the same period of last year, Agilent posted EPS of $0.44 and $1.02 billion.

Agilent expects third-quarter 2017 revenue between $1.06 billion and $1.08 billion, with EPS in the range of $0.49 to $0.51. Consensus estimates call for $0.53 in EPS and $1.08 billion in revenue in the coming quarter.

Janney Capital Markets reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $65 from $60 after noting that this was eight straight earnings beats with better guidance. The firm detailed in its report:

  • Rev. of $1,102 million (9% Organic) v. $1,050 million (3.7%) and EPS of $0.58 v. $0.48. Raising fiscal 2017 estimates to $4,370 million ($4,345 million) and $2.18 ($2.15), fiscal 2018 Revenues $4,575 million ($4,550 million) and $2.55 ($2.50).
  • Chemical & Energy grew 14% Organically with HSD growth in GC. Mgmt. indicated Intuvo 9000 is still in early stage of ramp implying potential 2H upside.
  • China continues to be major source of growth – HSD Organic Growth in the quarter off of a 40% Comp last year highlights the continued demand from the region.
  • CrossLab continues to generate HSD Organic Growth as customers increasingly outsource services and Agilent gains market share in the space.
  • Gross Margins expanded by 140 basis points to 56% and OpM expanded by 270 basis points to 22.1%. ROIC of 17.4% compares to 12.5% when Mike McMullen was appointed CEO in March 2015.

Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price target to $66 from $59. Jefferies said Agilent shot the lights out in the second quarter as materially better core growth and profitability drove the biggest EPS beat in years. Also guidance remains conservative, which offers a favorable setup with ample room for more upward revisions.

Leerink maintained an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $65 from $56. The firm commented:

Yesterday after market close Agilent delivered an outsized quarter delivering 9% organic revenue growth vs Street expectations of 3.7% and us at 3.5% – as just about every endmarket except Academic grew. Majority of the upside came from Chemical and Energy end-markets which delivered 14% organic growth and accounted for over two thirds of the growth upside vs the Street, with the rest coming from Pharma/Biotech, Diagnostics and Applied end-markets. China delivered high single digit growth, still beating a tough comp of 39% growth from last year. Despite this all-around solid growth, Agilent remains extremely conservative in its guidance with a view that it would like to see another quarter of sustained growth in Chemical and Energy end-markets before calling it a recovery. With both BRKR (MP) and WAT (OP) suggesting recovery in industrial markets, we believe the growth is real and likely to sustain though not at the 14% core growth that Chemical and Energy segment delivered in the quarter for Agilent.

Here’s what a few other analysts said after the fact:

  • BTIG reiterated a Buy rating and raised its price target to $65 from $57.
  • Merrill Lynch reiterated a Buy rating with a $62 price target.
  • JPMorgan raised its price target to $65 from $55.
  • Morgan Stanley raised its price target to $70 from $65.

Shares of Agilent were trading up 4.4% at $58.56 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $57.00 and a 52-week trading range of $41.98 to $59.97.