Altera's

(ALTR) - Get 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."

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.