Agilent Technologies Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: The Streak is Broken

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Agilent Technologies is focused on the design and manufacturing of core bio-analytical and electronic measurement solutions. It serves customers in sectors such as communications, electronics, life sciences, and chemical analysis.

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

Agilent Technologies Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for the scientific and technical instruments company fell to $289 million (82 cents per share) vs. $292 million (83 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 1% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 9.6% to $1.73 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: A reported adjusted net income of 84 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 81 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.75 billion.

Quoting Management: Bill Sullivan, Agilent president and CEO, said, “Our fourth quarter wrapped up a solid fiscal year 2011 as we delivered the best operating performance in our history.”

Key Stats:

Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. In the third quarter, net income rose 61% from the year earlier, while the figure increased 85.2% in the second quarter, more than twofold in the first quarter and 1068% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by 4 cents in the third quarter, by 9 cents in the second quarter, and by 3 cents in the first quarter.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 22.2% to $1.69 billion in the third quarter. The figure rose 31.9% in the second quarter from the year earlier and climbed 25.2% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter.

Gross margins grew 0.4 percentage point to 53.3%. The growth seemed to be driven by increased revenue, as the figure rose 9.6% from the year earlier quarter while costs rose 8.8%.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly negative about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has moved down from 74 cents a share to 69 cents over the last ninety days. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $2.88 per to share to $2.91.

Competitors to Watch: LeCROY Corporation (NASDAQ:LCRY), Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR), Wireless Telecom Group, Inc. (AMEX:WTT), Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO), National Instruments Corp (NASDAQ:NATI), Life Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ:LIFE), JDS Uniphase Corporation (NASDAQ:JDSU), Spirent Communications Plc (SPMYY), PerkinElmer, Inc. (NYSE:PKI), and Aeroflex Holding Corp. (NYSE:ARX).

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)