Altera Leading The Semiconductor Sector Higher After Raising Guidance

After moving sharply higher at the open, semiconductor stocks continue to post strong gains in late morning trading on Tuesday. The strength is the sector is due in large part to upwardly revised guidance from Altera Corp. (ALTR).

The gains by semiconductor stocks have contributed to a 2.5 percent gain by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Despite the strong upward move, however, the index remains rangebound.

Within the sector, shares of Altera are currently up 5.1 percent after reaching their best intraday level in over fourteen months earlier in the session.

The gain by Altera comes after the semiconductor giant raised its fourth quarter revenue guidance, now expecting sales to grow in the range of 15 to 18 percent sequentially, as compared to its earlier guidance that called for sales growth to range from 6 percent to 10 percent.

The firm's third quarter sales dropped 20 percent to $286.61 million from $356.76 million in the year-ago period. Nonetheless, revenues came in above Wall Street estimates of $284.48 million for the quarter. On average, seventeen analysts currently expect the company to generate revenues of $310.29 million for the fourth quarter.

Most of the sector components are showing strong moves to the upside, with Applied Materials (AMAT) and Xilinx (XLNX) advancing by more than 3 percent, although they largely remain in recent trading ranges.

Although seeing a more modest gain of 2.4 percent, National Semiconductor (NSM) has reached its best intraday price in roughly six weeks.

Further, KLA-Tencor (KLAC) is posting a relatively modest gain, rising by 1.4 percent, recovering from the three-month closing low set on Monday.

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