Microchip makers raise sales outlooks
San Francisco, September 11, 2009
Chip companies ASML and Texas Instruments have raised sales forecasts, in another sign consumers are buying more gadgets, sending technology shares higher.
National Semiconductor Corp further underscored a recovery in the semiconductor industry when the chip maker later on Thursday reported quarterly results and an outlook that handily topped Wall Street estimates.
Dutch ASML cited improved expectations of consumer demand and higher chip prices in some markets, while Texas Instruments identified a broad sector recovery.
"Investors are looking for signs to strengthen the underlying positive mood on the market," Pohjola Bank analyst Hannu Rauhala said.
National Semi, which saw a return of industrial demand, forecast second-quarter revenue between $325 million and $340 million, exceeding average expectations for about $315.46 million.
But shares of the Santa Clara, California-based company -- whose chips are used in cell phones like Apple Inc's iPhone, Palm's Pre smartphone and other electronics -- fell 1.5 percent after-hours as investors cashed in recent gains.
The stock had gained more than 30 percent in the past two months as investors bet on a chip-sector recovery in the latter part of the year.
National Semi chief executive Brian Halla told Reuters in an interview two factors were at work.
"One is an increased demand from the broad market. The other is that the distributors starting with and during this credit crunch have cranked down their inventories so far that they're starting to actually pass up on business because they don't have a product on the shelf when the customer comes in," Halla said.
"What happened in July was a significant uptick in bookings for all of us as distributors restocked their shelves and got ready for an improvement in demand," he added.-Reuters