Wall Street has a disquieting tendency to home in on Intel ( INTC) and ignore everything else in chipland. That's certainly been the case over the past few weeks, amid the noise leading up to Intel's closely monitored midquarter update after the bell Thursday. The stock lost ground after Intel said its
microprocessor business has been a little weak , with shares recently down 1.6%, or 48 cents, to $29.17. Many other chip names dipped in sympathy. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index was off 0.5%. But the selling may offer a decent time to take a look at stocks besides the 800-pound Intel. With the improving chip cycle expected to play out for at least another couple of quarters, plenty of other stocks can expect to take part in the same profit expansion and robust sales growth seen by the industry leader. Most tech pundits expect overall 2004 chip-sales growth to best the industry's 18.3% revenue growth in 2003, when industry sales totaled $166 billion. Granted, plenty of money managers consider Intel itself a smart buy at current levels. But Intel's business still hinges largely on the fortunes of the computer hardware market, and management counseled investors Thursday not to expect any sudden acceleration in enterprise computer buying. So it's not surprising that investors who want to bet on the chip rebound have diversified into many kinds of chip plays, both in large-caps and smaller outfits. last week .