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Agilent pops 11 percent as analysts cheer 4Q

    Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) was up 11 percent Tuesday after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter net income more than doubled and that sales will rise 20 percent or more this fiscal year.

    Shares in Agilent, a spin-off from Hewlett-Packard Co. were up $2.93 to $47.5 in morning trading. The company reported Monday night that fourth quarter earnings were 69 cents a share, after the sale of its leasing business, excluding non-recurring restructuring expenses.

    Analysts were bullish; Salomon Smith Barney raised the stock from "neutral" to "outperform" and Jay Deahna at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reiterated an "outperform" rating and had a 12-month target price of $80 a share.

    "The company sees no evidence of a cyclical, let alone secular, slowing of its markets thanks to new products, design wins for new products and a strong backlog which should moderate cyclical pressures," Deahna said in a research note.

    "We believe Agilent is well positioned to achieve 20 percent growth in fiscal 2001, thanks to its astute emphasis on end markets. Our confidence in the financial outlook has improved as a result of the quarter just ended, and management's increased comfort with a net margin target of 8 percent," Deahna added.