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Agilent exceeds 3Q expectations

Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) topped the third quarter's lowered consensus expectation.

After market close Thursday, the technology company reported third quarter net income of $155 million, or 33 cents per share. First Call's survey of 10 analysts predicted a profit of 20 cents per share.

The consensus First Call estimate had been 35 cents per share prior to an warning last month from Agilent, when the company said it expected to report third quarter earnings ranging between 18 and 22 cents per share.

Shares of Agilent shot up to 55 1/16 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, following the quarterly report. Agilent stock closed Wednesday's regular trading at 46 1/2, up 3 for the session.

Company executives predicted stronger results in succeeding quarters. Agilent expects fourth quarter earnings of 39 cents per share, excluding restructuring charges, CEO Ned Barnholt said. The company also boosted its fiscal 2001 expectations to include 20 percent revenue growth, with a net margin of 8 percent. Agilent previously expected 2001 revenue to rise 15 percent.

Third quarter revenue increased 28 percent year-over-year to $2.7 billion from $2.1 billion. Test and measurement revenue rose 51 percent and comprised almost 56 percent of Agilent's overall sales. Semiconductor products, up 41 percent, made up 22 percent of Agilent's revenue.

Chemical analysis revenue fell to $246 million, down 4 percent from the year-ago period. Agilent's troubled health care business, which recently announced 450 job cuts, saw revenue slide 13 percent year-over-year to $318 million.

Orders rose 44 percent year-over-year to $3.2 billion, including $1.5 billion from the United States and $1.7 billion from the rest of the world. Agilent's communications and electronics businesses saw a 62 percent boost in orders. Test and measurement orders improved 63 percent.

Third quarter gross margin of 48.7 percent was down from the second quarter.

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