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Barclays Upgrades Agilent, Downgrades Bruker

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Investment bank Barclays has upgraded shares of Agilent to Overweight from Equal Weight and downgraded shares of Bruker to Equal Weight from Overweight.

In a research note, analyst Jack Meehan wrote that Agilent's strength in biopharma and a new gas chromatography product cycle are signs "boding well for improved growth." He cited positive trends in the biopharma end market, which accounted for 30 percent of the firm's revenues and 15 percent of growth in fiscal year 2016. Cash repatriation opportunities also contributed to the upgrade. Barclays set a new price target for shares of Agilent at $51, up from $48.

He downgraded Bruker due to a "more cautious outlook on European academic exposure," with a price target of $22, down from $30; however, he raised the EPS estimate for Fiscal Year 2017 to $1.10, up from $1.09. "We have limited visibility into when the academic end market will begin to improve in Europe, where Bruker has outsized exposure relative to peers," Meehan wrote. Still, he said that Bruker continued to be a big turnaround story in life science tools.

Meehan also reiterated Overweight ratings for shares of Hologic, Qiagen, Quidel, and Laboratory Corporation of America.

The note covered Barclays' outlook for the US Life Science tools and diagnostics sector. Meehan said he expected the coverage group to be "in line with the broader market," affected by lingering uncertainty in diagnostics reimbursement and a stronger US dollar bringing foreign exchange headwinds.

Barclays added that shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific remained a "top pick."

In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Agilent were up more than 1 percent at $47.10, while on the Nasdaq, shares of Bruker were up less than one percent at $21.74.