Altera's ( ALTR) fourth-quarter profit grew -- and beat analysts' estimates -- as sales rose 10%.The company announced after the bell Monday that net income rose to $58 million, or 15 cents a share, from $45.1 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $239.9 million from $217.4 million a year ago. The latest-quarter results beat the Street's expectations for earnings of 13 cents a share and sales of $236.6 million. "The year's revenue growth ... demonstrates that our R&D investments are paying off. The last half of the year was very challenging, and even as business moderated, we maintained strong gross margins and kept inventories under control," said John Daane, president and CEO. Gross profit margin rose to 69.8% from 67.5% a year earlier, while the company's effective tax rate for the year was lowered in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point, resulting in a favorable fourth-quarter adjustment of $2.6 million (3.7 percentage points) and an effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 18.3%. Shares in the semiconductor name were recently up 1.8% in after-hours trading; they closed the regular session down 19 cents to $17.88.