Agilent soars in first day of trading

Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of venerable tech firm Hewlett-Packard, soars more than 61 percent in its first day on the market.

Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of venerable tech firm Hewlett-Packard, soared more than 40 percent in its first day of trading today.

Agilent, Tune in to CNET News.com TV's IPO Forecast a maker of test and measurement equipment used by the telecommunications, medical and life sciences industries, was living up to the high billing most industry watchers expected in its initial public offering, rising as high as 41.88 percent and trading at 42.56 in midday trading, a 12.56 point gain. Shares climbed as high as about 50 in morning trading, gaining more than 61 percent.

Agilent stock was the most actively traded issue on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol "A," with 19.9 million shares changing hands this morning.

Yesterday, the company raised the price range of the shares coming to the market to $26 to $28 per share from $19 to $22.

The stock priced out at $30 last night, investment firm Merrill Lynch said in a report today.

Agilent also increased the number of shares floated to the public to 65 million from 57 million.

HP will own about 85.4 percent of Agilent's stock after the IPO, but plans to divest its stake by mid-2000.

Shares of HP got a boost this morning from Agilent's IPO, rising 13.12 percent or 10.63 points to 91.63. The stock has traded as high as 118.44 and as low as 57.69 during the past 52 weeks.

Morgan Stanley is the lead underwriter.