SAN JOSE, Calif. There was a lot of doom and gloom in the air about semiconductors until now. Analysts are slightly more bullish about the industry after relatively strong chip sales in March.
Worldwide sales of semiconductors increased by one percent in March to $20.3 billion compared with the previous month, and are 3.2 percent better than the $19.7 billion reported for March 2006, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
''The three-month average of world chip sales rose to $20.3 billion in March from $20.1 billion in February, beating our $20.2 billion prediction,'' said Bruce Diesen, an analyst with Terra Securities.
Actual IC sales rose 2.7 percent year-over-year in March, compared to a 3.8 percent drop in February, he said. The analyst originally expected a 1 percent gain in actual chip sales for March. He still predicts worldwide chip sales will jump 5 percent in 2007.
''The semiconductor industry has put a firm bottom in place in Q1, with orders and demand beginning to ramp in Q2,'' said Craig Berger, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc.
''March shipments were 7.4 percent better than the historical median after a weaker than normal February,'' he said. ''Chip ASPs continue to decline on a month over month basis almost across the board except NOR flash.''
Berger maintains his 2007 chip growth forecast of 6 percent. He also maintains his 2008 industry growth forecast at 12 percent, with the next fundamental up-cycle peak likely in Q2 of 2008.