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PLD stocks sucked into tech selloff

Programmable logic device makers were bruised in early trading Monday along with the rest of the tech sector. Actel shares fell 6 7/8, or 19 percent, to 28 13/16.

Monday's losses comes on the heels of an impressive run-up through the first three months of the year for PLD manufacturers.

Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) shares slid 7 5/8, or 9 percent, to 81 5/8 while Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX) dropped 5 1/16, or 6 percent, to 77 3/4.

PLD stocks have made huge gains in the past year as networking and telecommunications firms race to get their latest products to market.

"Traditionally, design engineers would choose ASICs over PLDs even though PLDs have some significant advantages," said Rick Owens, an analyst at D.A. Davidson. "But PLDs were much more expensive. Those costs are now decreasing."

Despite their losses Monday, all three stocks have delivered stellar performance of late.

Altera, which easily topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter, moved up to a 52-week high of 99 1/4 in March after falling to a low of 30 last April.

Actel (Nasdaq: ACTL) surged to a high of 36 1/2 in March after bottoming out at 11 in May. It also beat Street estimates in its fourth quarter, earning $7.3 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $46 million.

Xilinx, which is rated either a "buy" or "strong buy" by 25 of the 28 analysts following it, moved as high as 88 7/16 in March after slipping to a low of 19 1/2 in May.

First Call consensus predicts Altera will earn 34 cents a share this quarter while Xilinx and Actel are expected to pocket 21 and 31 cents a share, respectively.