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BTIG Upgrades Agilent to Buy Rating

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Investment firm BTIG today upgraded Agilent Technologies' stock to a Buy rating on improving confidence in the company's outlook. 

Analyst Dane Leone upgraded Agilent from an earlier Neutral rating and set the 12-month price target on the firm's stock at $52. In a research note, he cited Agilent's China business, and said that after two years of having to deal issues in the region those operations are poised to improve.  

In September, US regulators closed an investigation into possible infractions by employees of Agilent's subsidiaries inChinawithout taking enforcement actions. Agilent disclosed the possible violations in 2013. 

As a result of the resolution of those issues, along with steadier underlying growth by Agilent's competitors in China and a possible budget flush in that country in 2015, "we think the near-term growth outlook for China is sustainable in the low-double digit range," Leone said. 

He also noted strength in Agilent's chemical business and "only a slight residual impact expected" moving ahead from manufacturing issues that FDA had with the company's Dako business dating back to 2013. 

Last week, Agilent reported that its fiscal first quarter revenues were up 2 percent year over year to $1.03 billion. 

In Wednesday afternoon trading on New York Stock Exchange, Agilent's shares were up a fraction of 1 percent at $42.38.