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Los Angelas, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/20/2012 -- Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) is the world market leader in the test and measurement (T&M) business. The company's 16,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $4.5 billion in fiscal 2009. Agilent's closest competitors are Tektronix (TEK) and National Instruments (NATI). Similar to other smaller competitors like Lakeshore and Keithley Instruments (KEI), these two competitors have succeeded by focusing on niche markets. Agilent, on the other hand, is the broadest and most diversified T&M company. Since it was spun off from parent company Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) in 1999, Agilent has undergone a period of significant restructuring during which it divested its assets in semiconductor testing and manufacturing, as well as developed a joint venture in LED lighting technology, in order to rededicate itself back on its core scientific and R&D markets. The advantages of this approach are twofold. First, the R&D market is more stable, as it is usually sheltered from macroeconomic trends. Second, the semiconductor test and manufacturing business is highly cyclical, tied mostly to the ups and downs of the IT hardware industry.
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Agilent Technologies Inc.(NYSE:A) reported Monday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income increased 47 percent but issued a weak forecast. Its shares fell in after-hours trading on the news. Agilent beat expectations with its latest EPS and revenue figures. Agilent Technologies Inc.(NYSE:A) reported adjusted net income of 86 cents per share versus the 83 cents per share estimate and revenues of $1.77 billion versus the $1.71 billion estimate. Revenue climbed 2.3% from the same period last year. Agilent's revenue has grown during each of the past four quarters on a year-over-year basis. Agilent's profit for the fourth quarter was $425 million. This is 47.1% higher than the year-ago quarter. Last quarter's rising profit follows a drop of 26.4% to $255 million in the previous quarter.
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Analysts have a more positive outlook for the company's next-quarter performance. In the past year, the stock has hit a 52-week low of $32.51 and 52-week high of $46.28. Agilent (NYSE:A) stock has been showing support around $35.30 and resistance in the $36.10 range. Technical indicators for the stock are Bearish and S&P gives Agilent (A) a positive 4 STARS (out of 5) buy rating. For a hedged play on Agilent (NYSE:A), look at the Jan '13 $35.00 covered call for a net debit in the $33.48 area. That is also the break-even stock price for this trade. This covered call has a duration of 61 days, provides 6.51% downside protection and an assigned return rate of 4.54% for an annualized return rate of 27.17%
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