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(ALTR) - Get Altair Engineering Inc. Class A Report

management thinks the worst is finally over.

In a call after the bell Monday, CEO John Daane said that a recovery in orders during November and December led the company to believe its business has finally bottomed and the March quarter will herald "modest growth."

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The programmable logic chipmaker refined its fourth-quarter guidance, preparing investors for a 7% decline from the third quarter's $174 million in revenue. The Street was expecting a 6% decline, despite Altera's previous range of a 5% to 10% revenue falloff, which it formally re-emphasized as recently as Nov. 28.

Analysts expect the chip company to earn 3 cents in the fourth quarter, with an uptick to 4-cents-a-share profit in the first quarter of 2002 and a 3% climb in revenue to $169 million.

Altera reports fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 22. The company's stock fell 3% in Monday trading to $23.90.