Earnings Preview: Agilent Technologies

| About: Agilent Technologies (A)

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) is expected to report Q4 earnings before market open Friday Nov. 14, with a conference call scheduled for 8:30 am ET.


The consensus estimate is 59c for EPS and $1.54B for revenue, according to First Call. Guidance for Q4 provided on the last earnings call is for 58c to 62c in EPS and $1.52B to $1.58B in revenues.

Analyst Views

Keep in mind that, in the past, analysts have typically overestimated Agilent's quarterly profits in each of the past eight periods.

Citigroup expects Agilent's Q4 results toward the low-end of the mid-August guidance as proactive operating expense control, a decent starting backlog, and some end-of-year budget flush offset weakening October order trends. Managements guidance for Q1 is EPS of 40c to 44c, and sales of $1.45B to $1.5B. Citigroup sees Q1 sales guidance of -2% to -4% YoY, or 900bps below the prior 4% to 8% YoY guidance. Citigroup recently reduced its Q1 EPS estimate to 33c, below the Street's 41c estimate. The firm believes that monthly order commentary should observe abrupt mid-September order deceleration, tracking the PMI's steep Sept./Oct. pull-back, and also aligning with competitor National Instruments' (NASDAQ:NATI) Oct. 24 commentary on weak October monthly order flow.

Citigroup believes Agilent will likely refrain from issuing full-year guidance until its Dec. 9 analyst day. Instead, the company should provide initial Q2 guidance which Citigroup expects will be slightly ahead of Q1's -2% to -4% YoY change.

Key issues for the conference call: Forward guidance; details on the timing of the demand slowdown and to what degree management believes they have already seen demand slowing real time in coincident with PMI fall-off. Another key area of focus will be the company's progress on expense control.