) to equal-weight from overweight on Wednesday, explaining that the chip maker had lower than expected profit margins.
Analyst Timothy Luke said Altera's margins were revised downward, among other things. Luke noted, however, that softness is prevalent across all end markets. With uncertainty likely to linger for Altera, the analyst cut his 2005 earnings per share estimate to 75 cents from 76 cents, and his 2006 estimate to 90 cents from 94 cents. He also thinks Altera's shares could be range-bound near term during the next two seasonally weaker quarters.