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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Semiconductor Growth Decent, Still Not Good Enough

By William Trent, CFA of Stock Market Beat

The Semiconductor Industry Association released its global sales report for September today.

“Worldwide sales of semiconductors in September once again achieved a new high as electronic equipment manufacturers geared up for the fourth-quarter holiday season,” said George Scalise, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). “Global chip sales rose to $21.4 billion, an increase of 9.3 percent from September 2005, and a 4.2 increase from the $20.5 billion reported in August 2006. Strong demand for consumer products, including cell phones, MP3 players, and personal computers were major drivers of increased chip sales.

While high-single digit growth would be considered solid for most industries, the report is negative for three reasons:

Most tech investors tend to hope for something higher.
The growth rate has slowed for two consecutive months.
Semiconductor companies continue to expand capacity at a much higher rate than sales.

The author may hold a position in the securities discussed. The author's current holdings are as follows: Long: Intuit (INTU) put options; Nasdaq 100 (QQQQ) put options; Bookham (BKHM; Ballard Power (BLDP); Syntax Brillian (BRLC); CMGI (CMGI); Genentech (DNA); Ion Media Networks (ION); Lion's Gate (LGF); Three Five Systems (TFS); Adobe Systems (ADBE) call options; Ceradyne (CRDN); IShares Japan (EWJ); StreetTracks Gold (GLD); Starbucks (SBUX); U.S. Oil Fund (USO); Plantronics (PLT) call options; Short: Lion's Gate (LGF) call options; Dell (DELL) put options; Ceradyne (CRDN) call options; Plantronics (PLT) put options

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