Agilent Rallies Around 2Q Beat, Bullish View

Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A) revealed a stronger-than-expected 85% surge in fiscal second-quarter profits on Friday, leading the electronics testing equipment maker to raise its full-year guidance.

The upbeat results and bullish outlook sent shares of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company soaring more than 8% in premarket action.

Agilent said it earned $200 million, or 56 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $108 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 74 cents a share, widely surpassing estimates for 65 cents.

Sales soared 32% to $1.68 billion, beating the Street’s view of $1.6 billion. Orders jumped 15%. Operating margins expanded to 15.9% from 12.1%.

“We had another quarter of excellent results as the growth momentum continued across all our businesses,” CEO Bill Sullivan said in a statement. “Demand for Agilent products remained strong, with all key product platforms experiencing double-digit growth for the fourth consecutive quarter.”

Agilent also boosted its fiscal 2011 outlook, forecasting non-GAAP EPS of $2.84 to $2.88 on sales of $6.55 billion to $6.6 billion. Even the most conservative end of that range would easily top consensus calls for EPS of $2.64 on sales of $6.42 billion. Previously Agilent saw EPS of $2.53 to $2.63 on sales of $6.3 billion to $6.4 billion.

For the current quarter, Agilent expects non-GAAP EPS of 71 cents to 73 cents on sales of $1.64 billion to $1.66 billion. That guidance is bullish compared with the Street’s expectation for EPS of 66 cents on sales of $1.59 billion.

Inspired by the strong report, shares of Agilent leaped 7.67% to $54.19 ahead of Friday’s open, putting them on track to extend their 2011 surge of 21%.