Letting the Chips (Stocks) Fall Where They May: A Mixed Bag

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One characteristic of the 2014 stock market has been the volatility of individual stocks. The semiconductor industry is an example of that.

The Market Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) has 24 components, and 11 of them have traded lower since my March 25 post, Semiconductors Are Leading the Market, even though the exchange-traded fund set an all-time high on Wednesday.

Today's post could have the same title as the PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX) leads all indexes with a year-to-date gain of 14%, followed by utilities (up 11%) and transports (up 9%).

The S&P 500 is setting all-time intraday highs almost every day, but is up just 4.3% year to date. The laggards are the Nasdaq Composite index, (up 1.8%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (up 1%), and the Russell 2000 (down 2.8%). Stock picking has been difficult and that includes semiconductors.

Let's look at today's "crunching the numbers" tables for the semiconductor ETF. Five of the 13 gainers have double-digit gains since March 24, led by Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), up 25%, and Micron (MU), up 23%.

Among the 11 losers, two had double-digit losses, Xilinx (XLNX), down 16%, and Cree Inc. (CREE), down 21%.

My stock-specific profiles cover the five most popular stocks from these tables.

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