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Cognex shares hit new high on strong 2Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Cognex Corp. rose Tuesday to a 13-year high after the company posted better-than-expected second-quarter results, issued strong revenue guidance for the current period and announced a stock split.

THE SPARK: Cognex, which makes products like barcode readers and machine vision sensors, said late Monday that it posted a second-quarter profit of $16.8 million, or 38 cents per share. That was down 15 percent from $19.8 million, or 45 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012 which benefited in part from higher investment income.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $86.5 million from $84.3 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 37 cents per share on $85.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company also said it expects its third-quarter revenue to total between $88 million and $91 million, ahead of analysts' predictions of $86.6 million.

In addition, Cognex's board declared a 2-for-1 split of the company's common stock. The new stock will be issued in the form of a stock dividend. The additional shares will be distributed on Sept. 16 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 26.

THE BIG PICTURE: Cognex Chairman Robert Shillman said the split — its first since 1995 — reflects the board's confidence in the company's financial strength and in its prospects for the future.

He also noted that given the increase in the price of Cognex shares over the past year, the company wants to make sure that it remains accessible to a broad range of investors.

Over the past 12 months, Cognex shares have gained about 54 percent.

THE SHARES: Up $3.21, or 6 percent, to $53.25 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $59.02 earlier in the day and marking their highest price since March 2000.