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Altera Falls After Predicting Sales May Drop Further

Altera Corp., a maker of programmable chips used in phone systems, fell after saying fourth-quarter sales may decline more than analysts had estimated, citing weaker demand for its older products.

Sales will drop 8 percent to 10 percent from the third quarter’s $495 million, the San Jose, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. The low end of that range would indicate revenue of $445.5 million, compared with an average analyst prediction of $455.2 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Altera and Xilinx Inc. make chips that can be reprogrammed even after they’ve been installed in electronics. Their products, primarily used in wireless telecommunications equipment, are increasingly being used to replace custom-designed semiconductors in a wider range of devices, including industrial equipment and consumer electronics.

Shares fell 3.6 percent to $31.01 at the close in New York, leaving the stock down 16 percent this year.

In October, Altera had predicted sales would decline 6 percent to 10 percent in the fourth quarter from the third.

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