SAN JOSE, Calif. " The debate rages on about the current semiconductor cycle as one analyst warned the industry will reach its peak as early as next month.
It's all downhill for both the chip and IC equipment sectors starting in June of 2004, said Kevin Vassily, an analyst with market researchers Susquehanna Financial Group LLP (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.).
"On its current trajectory, we believe the overall semiconductor industry will reach its peak growth rate [as defined by year-over-year semiconductor revenue growth] sometime around June 2004," Vassily said in a report issued this week.
In the report, Vassily downgraded Lam Research Corp., Varian Equipment Associates Inc., and United Microelectronics Corp. from a "continued net positive" to a "net neutral." MKS Instruments Inc. and Teradyne Inc. were downgraded from a "continued net positive" to a "net negative," according to the report.
Semiconductor and chip equipment vendors are not exactly bearish, but they remain cautious " if not uncertain " about the current outlook for the IC cycle.
"We are kind of waiting for the April-May behavior in the retail season," said Scott Beckman, business development manager for communications memory products at Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc., the U.S. sales arm for Japan's Toshiba Corp.
Still, there are indicators that the market is hot as components such as NAND-based flash memories remain on allocation. "Products are still on support allocation," said Brian Kumagai, business development manager of NAND flash memory products for Toshiba America (Irvine, Calif.).