Agilent Earnings: Traders Should Shadow After-Hours Momentum

| About: Agilent Technologies (A)

We've got seven years of earnings-driven after-hours data recorded on Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A), and the history suggests both longs and shorts can catch a good play on the shares in the wake of the company's Q1 results tonight.

On the long side, Agilent has recorded an earnings-driven after-hours gain in 14 of the 27 quarters we've tracked, and in nine of those events, 64% of the time, the stock has added to its gains in the following day's regular session.

An up move off the earnings tonight, and longs should be prepared to shadow that momentum into Tuesday's trade.

On the downside, Agilent has posted an earnings-driven after-hours decline in 13 of the 27 quarters tracked by MidnightTrader, widening in its losses in the next-day trade in seven events, 54% of the time.

This isn't as definitive for the short side, and perhaps shorts should be a bit more cautious, but there's enough data here for downside players to prep for further declines Tuesday if Agilent goes deep in the red tonight.

Agilent is slated to report its Q1 results in the extended-hours, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report a profit of $0.57 per share on revenue of $1.54 billion.

More broadly, Agilent is holding a widening pattern between the sessions, enhancing its extended-hours performance in the following regular sessions in 16 of its last 27 earnings events. In the near-term, the stock favors widening, with three widening events in the last four quarters.

Here's the full data run:

On Nov. 12, 2010, Agilent edged up 0.7% in pre-market trading after beating Q3 estimates. The stock added to its upside in the follow-on regular session, closing with a 1.7% advance.

On Aug. 16, 2010, Agilent gained 2.8% in after-hours trading after beating earnings estimates and setting its guidance above the Street view. The stock leaped higher the next day, closing the Aug. 17 regular session up 7.8%.

On May 17, 2010, Agilent dropped 2% in after-hours trading despite beating Q2 EPS expectations. The stock headed lower the following day, closing the May 18 regular session down 6.2%.

On Feb. 12, 2010, Agilent advanced 4% in pre-market action after posting better-than-expected results and guidance. It shed about half its gains in that day's regular session, ending up 2.1%.

On Nov. 13, 2009, Agilent advanced 1.7% in pre-market trading after reporting better-than-expected results and guidance. The stock continued heading higher in that day's regular session, ending up 4.3%.

On Aug. 17, 2009, Agilent advanced 2.1% in after-hours trading after beating on EPS, meeting on revenue, and setting its guidance in-line to above expectations. The stock firmed even higher the next day, ending the Aug. 18 regular session up 7.8%.

On May 14, 2009, Agilent declined 1% in after-hours trading after beating revenue expectations and meeting the Street's earnings view. It added to its downside the following day, sliding 3.7% by the close on May 15.

On Feb. 17, 2009, the stock fell 9.3% after a Q1 earnings miss. Shares fell 9% the next day.

On Nov. 14, 2008, Agilent declined 1.2% in pre-market trading after reporting mixed results and guiding below Street expectations. It cut the decline slightly in the following regular session, ending down 1%.

On Aug. 14, 2008, Agilent advanced 0.6% in after-hours trading after coming in with revenue shy of Street forecasts and setting its guidance below expecations. The stock cut its upside slightly the next day, ending the Aug. 15 regular session up 0.5%.

On May 15, 2008, the stock gained 4.1% during evening trading after it reported better-than-expected results and outlook. The gain improved to 8.6% by the closing bell the following day.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Agilent declined 0.5% in after-hours trading after beating Q1 expectations and offered mixed guidance. It added to its downside in the Feb. 14 regular session, losing 3.5% by the closing bell.

On Nov. 15, 2007, A advanced 2.4% in after-hours trading after topping Q4 expectations. It firmed even higher the next day, rising 8.9% by the Nov. 16 closing bell.

On Aug 14, 2007, A tumbled 12.3% in evening activity after missing Q3 estimates and guiding for Q4 to miss Street views. Shares, though, rebounded slightly the next to finish the regular session down 10.8%.

On May 14, 2007, A rose 3.7% in night trading despite missing Q2 EPS estimates and meeting on sales. It forecast Q3 to be mostly higher than expectations. Shares gained more the next day, closing the regular session up 5.2%.

On Feb. 15, 2007, Agilent dipped 0.6% in after-hours trading despite the company meeting Q1 EPS expectations and topping on sales. Guidance also was mostly in-line with forecasts. Shares failed to find any cheer in the report and took the stock lower the next day. It ended the regular session down 3.1%.

On Nov. 14, 2006, A declined 5.7% in pre-market trading after the company reported Q4 results below expectations. The stock maintained the same downside in the following regular session, losing 5.7% by the closing bell.

On August 14, 2006, A gained 6.6% in after-hours trading when the company came off a trading halt after topping Q3 expectations. The shares widened their gains and ended the regular session up 9.3% the next day.

On May 12, 2006, Agilent dipped 1% in night trading after topping Q2 expectations and setting Q3 guidance in line with forecasts. The shares, though, continued to weaken and closed the next day's regular session down 8.2%.

On Feb. 13, 2006, Agilent slid 1% in pre-market trading despite the company beating earnings expectations and guiding mostly in-line. Sales were slightly below expectations. It added to its downside between the bells, losing 3.9% by the regular session close.

On November 14, 2005, Agilent rose 5.7% in evening trading after reporting higher Q4 results from a year ago, authorizing a share buyback and setting Q1 guidance. However, the shares eased off their highs the next day and ended the regular session up 4.8%.

On August 15, 2005, Agilent jumped 11.7% in after hours trading when the company beat Q3 non-GAAP EPS estimates although it fell short on sales. It also reiterated its Q4 guidance. The following day, the shares expanded those gains, closing the regular session up 14.8%.

On May 16, 2005, Agilent slipped 1.8% in night trading after the company topped Q2 revenue expectations and matching on EPS. It also offered Q3 forecasts that were in line with expectations. The shares regained some strength the next day, ending regular-hours trade up 4.2%.

Agilent lost 2.1% the night of Feb. 14, 2005 after the company beat by a penny on EPS but guided its outlook below the Street. The stock turned higher in next-day trade, ending the Feb. 15 bell-to-bell session up 1.5%.

On Nov. 11, 2004 Agilent slid 3.2% in night trading after the company reported results shy of expectations. Sellers beat it deeper into the cellar on Nov. 12, thrashing it for a 12% decline.

On Aug. 12, 2004 Agilent jumped 7.5% in evening action after the company beat expectations and said it was comfortable with its prior guidance. Those heftier after-hours gains slimmed down on Aug. 13 as Agilent closed the regular session up a more modest 4.2%.

On May 17, 2004 Agilent added 3% in night trading after the company beat on revenue, reported in-line EPS, and guided for revenue ahead of Street estimates. The stock saw those gains evaporate on May 18 as Agilent shed 0.4% by the close.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.