Linear Technology's ( LLTC) earnings dropped as the company marked its first quarter expensing stock-based compensation, but results excluding the costs topped Wall Street's projection. For the first quarter ended Oct. 2, the integrated-circuit maker earned $99.2 million, or 31 cents a share, down from $103.5 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest earnings included $13.3 million in costs for stock-based compensation, which the company began recording during the quarter in accordance with new accounting standards. Excluding the stock-based compensation, Linear Technology posted earnings of $108.5 million, or 35 cents a share. Analysts had pegged first-quarter earnings at 33 cents a share, before the stock-option expense, according to Thomson First Call. Linear Technology's sales rose to $256 million from $253 million a year earlier, shy of analysts' mean estimate for a $257 million top line. "Sequentially sales were similar to the June quarter, however, demand increased resulting in a positive book to bill ratio," said Chief Executive Lothar Maier in a statement. For the fiscal second quarter, Linear Technology predicted 3% to 4% sales growth. Analysts, on average, expect sales of $268 million for the December quarter. Linear Technology's shares recently fell $1.07, or 3%, in after-hours trading to $34.89.