January 27, 2010 / 1:02 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Chipmaker Altera beats Street, shares jump

* Q4 EPS 34 cents vs Street view 29 cents

* Q4 revenue $365 mln vs Street view $334.88 mln

* Sees Q1 rev up 5 pct to 10 pct over Q4

* Sees Q1 gross margin of 67.5 pct to 68.5 pct

* Shares up 5.6 pct after hours (Adds details on cash dividend, market forces, byline; updates shares)

By Ian Sherr

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Programmable chipmaker Altera Corp (ALTR.O) reported better-than-expected results thanks to sales in newer markets such as China and improving consumer demand, sending its shares 5.6 percent higher.

Analysts say Altera and rival Xilinx Inc (XLNX.O) are benefiting as the two company’s programmable chips find their way into more technologies.

    Altera said it expects a gross margin of 67.5 percent to 68.5 percent in the current quarter -- exceeding the average analyst estimate of 67.42, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Additionally, the company expects first quarter revenue to grow 5 percent to 10 percent over the fourth quarter, also exceeding the average analyst estimate of $338.53 million.

    The company said fourth-quarter net income increased to $102.97 million, or 34 cents a share, from $83.04 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

    That exceeded the average analyst estimate of 29 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Revenue rose to $365 million, surpassing the Wall Street estimate of $334.88 million.

    Altera also said its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.05 per share payable on Mar 1, 2010 to shareholders of record on Feb 10, 2010.

    Its shares closed at $21.19 on the Nasdaq and rose to $22.37 in extended trading. (Reporting by Ian Sherr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bernard Orr)

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