Agilent posted a $3.28 per share loss amid a sharp charge. Analyst Paul Coster says the $1.5 billion in revenue is slightly ahead of the $1.49 billion consensus. He says earnings performance was strong, with a 2-cent pro forma loss beating his 5-cent loss estimate, largely as the company executed very well on its operating expenses.
Coster notes management expects $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, with continued operating expense control resulting in operating profit in the breakeven to 10 cents earnings per share range. He narrowed the 38-cent fiscal 2003 (Oct.) loss estimate to a 35-cent loss, and raised the 53 cents fiscal 2004 earnings per share estimate to 54 cents earnings per share.
Coster is keeping his neutral rating, but he thinks Agilent has one of the most impressive franchises in the technology domain.