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Agilent Profit Rises 21%; Shares Climb

Agilent Technologies reported fourth-quarter earnings of 53 cents per share on an adjusted basis, edging above results for the year-ago quarter and narrowly beating estimates. Profit rose 20.8 percent to $180 million.

The electronic and bio-analytical measurement device maker's shares gained 4 percent in after-hours trade, after ending regular trading hours down 1.46 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

A Thomson Financial analyst survey had predicted quarterly earnings per share of 52 cents and revenue of $1.42 billion. Agilent reported quarterly revenue of $1.45 billion.

The company cited strong demand from its bio-sciences and defense clients, offsetting downturns in the computer and semiconductor industries.

Agilent also announced Thursday that its board of directors has approved a share-repurchase program of up to $2 billion of its common stock over the next two years.

The company completed its previous $2 billion share buyback in October, bringing its cumulative repurchases to $6.466 billion since the program’s inception in 2005.