The 5 Best-Performing Tech Stocks of 2017's First Quarter

Tech stocks are having a happy new year so far in 2017. 

The S&P 500 Information Technology Sector has gained nearly 12.5% since January, making it the best-performing sector over the past three months. By comparison, the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have gained 9.8% and 4.5%, respectively, year to date. 

Stocks in general have benefited from the recent "Trump rally," which pushed stocks higher during the first three months of the year. Despite some bouts of volatility, such as the Dow posting its longest losing-streak since 2011, the quarter was mostly marked by gains. In February, the Dow closed at an all-time high for a record-setting 12 days straight. 

Amid broader economic uncertainty, investors have been turning to internet and technology companies, which are less sensitive to tax cuts and changes in interest rates and are expected to benefit from de-regulatory moves and lower corporate taxes, particularly on cash held overseas. 

But don't look to FANG ( Facebook (FB) ,  Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google) stocks to be the market leaders; instead the quarter's biggest gainers were semiconductor companies, which were largely driven higher by strong earnings results. The big exception was chip giant Qualcomm  (QCOM) , which was the worst-performing tech stock on the S&P 500 in the first quarter, falling 11.6% amid concerns about its licensing business and increasing competition in the mobile chip market.

Here's a look at the five biggest gainers on the S&P's Information Technology sector in 2017's first quarter:

5. Symantec (SYMC)

Q1 Stock Performance: +28.8%
Market cap: $18.9 billion 

The Mountain View, CA-based company's stock gained on the back of its earnings report in early February, on which it beat on both its top and bottom line. During the quarter, Symantec also completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of identity theft protection services company LifeLock.

4. Advanced Micro Devices
4. Advanced Micro Devices

Q1 Stock Performance: +28.3%
Market cap: $14.04 billion 

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has rallied on optimism about its Ryzen CPUs, which were released earlier this month, and are expected to help the chipmaker gain share from rival semiconductor giant  Intel (INTC) . Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis said in a recent note that the company's Ryzen releases should propel it to beat analysts' earnings and revenue expectations for 2017.

3. Qorvo
3. Qorvo

Q1 Stock Performance: +30.1%
Market cap: $8.83 billion 

The Greensboro, NC-based semiconductor company gained after reporting stronger-than-expected results for the third quarter of 2016 in February. Additionally, JPMorgan on Thursday estimated that Qorvo  (QRVO) could deliver double-digit revenue growth in 2018 as it benefits from supplying radio frequency semiconductors for companies such as  Apple (AAPL) .

2. Skyworks Solutions
2. Skyworks Solutions

Q1 Stock Performance: +31.4%
Market cap: $18.29 billion

Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) came in as the second-best performing tech stock this quarter, thanks in part to its better-than-expected first-quarter results. Like Qorvo, analysts have said the Apple supplier is set to benefit from sales of the upcoming iPhone 8, as well as consumer demand for  Samsung's (SSNLF) Galaxy 8.

1. Micron Technology
1. Micron Technology

Q1 Stock Performance: +32.3%
Market cap: $31.97 billion

Micron Technology  (MU)  beat on its top and bottom line for the fiscal 2017 second quarter when it reported results last week. The chipmaker has benefited from strong pricing and demand trends in the NAND and DRAM chip market and is expected to move even higher this year.

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