Specialty chip maker

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

Wednesday stuck by its second-quarter guidance, which says revenue will fall 20% in the period from the first quarter.

In its monthly business update for April, Altera said that the rate of incoming orders remains sluggish and that orders were less than sales in all channels. The company said that North American sales were stable while international sales were falling, in line with the company's expectations.

Altera makes programmable logic devices, or PLDs, that are used in communications applications. The company has been squeezed by declining telecommunications spending. According to its latest financial statement, Altera had nine and a half months of inventory on hand.

The depth of the slowdown in chip building was seen in the

Semiconductor Industry Association's

monthly sales numbers, released Wednesday. March sales fell 7% from February to $14.4 billion due to an inventory overhang and macroeconomic factors, the chip trade group said.

"We continue to believe that the industry will complete the inventory correction in the third quarter and the recovery will commence in the fourth quarter," SIA president George Scalise said in a statement.

The SIA news led some Wall Street analysts to review their expectations for chip sales in 2001.

Credit Suisse First Boston

now expects sales to fall by 17% from 2000's record $204 billion, while

Merrill Lynch

is looking for a nearly 11% decline. The SIA hasn't changed its forecast, currently for 22% growth, but has said that it intends to do so.

Altera executives are scheduled to speak Thursday at the

JPMorgan H&Q

conference in San Francisco and at the

Merrill Lynch Hardware Technology

conference in New York.