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Altera (ALTR) said it earned 16 cents a share in the first quarter, just below the year-earlier's 18 cents a share and in line with analysts' expectations.

The maker of programmable logic devices largely used by communications companies said revenue in the period hit $287.4 million, under the consensus estimate tabulated by

Thomson Financial/First Call

of $300.4 million. In the year-earlier period, the company had $272.8 million in revenue.

The inventory buildup in the communications chip sector has taken the toll on the company, which is fighting high inventories of its own. At the end of March, the company had eight months worth of product on hand.

"The quarter's results reflect the slowing end demand experienced by many of our customers, particularly in North America, and a continuation of the sharp industry-wide inventory correction that began in the previous quarter,'' John Daane, president and CEO, said in a statement.