Shares of

Agilent Technologies

(A) - Get Report

surged Monday after the maker of testing and measurement equipment announced that it had developed technology that promises to speed up fiber-optic networks.

Agilent's shares closed up 43 11/16, or 40%, at 151 11/16, after hitting a new 52-week high of 160. The company has risen more than four-fold since its initial public offering last November, when parent company



sold a 15% stake.

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Shares of Hewlett-Packard closed up 6 15/16, or 5%, at 145 9/16 after reaching a new 52-week high of 152 1/16. The company plans to spin off its remaining stake to shareholders around midyear.

The new technology, called the Agilent photonic switching platform, allows data to be routed through fiber optic networks without converting high-speed light signals into slower electrical impulses -- considered to be the "missing link" for development of all-optical networks, according to Agilent.

The company expects to see booming demand for the technology, which it says will be pivotal in helping allow networks to support so-called broadband applications such as video, high-speed data transfer and voice communication.

"There is a lot of excitement over optical technologies these days," said Edward White, analyst at

Lehman Brothers

. "These types of developments are going to be behind high-speed, high-bandwidth voice and data transmission over telecommunications networks." Lehman rates Agilent a buy, and was one of the firms involved in underwriting the company's IPO last November.

Separately, Agilent unveiled a new technology, known as Docsis, which will be licensed to Westborough Mass.-based

Broadband Access Systems

(BAS) - Get Report

to monitor and test its cable networks that deliver television and Internet services.