Updated from 9:40 a.m. EDT
shares jumped Wednesday but other chips drifted as investors decided to wait out financial reports from the rest of the group as nervousness still reigned.
Intel, the world's largest chipmaker and a bellwether for the tech sector, beat Wall Street's financial targets for the first quarter and met expectations for the second quarter late Tuesday. It also boosted gross margin and capital spending targets for the year.
The results seemingly set up the chip sector for another day of strong gains. The trend in chip stocks this week has been higher, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index advancing 0.7% on Monday and 1.7% on Tuesday following
solid financial results from
, the world's third-largest chipmaker.
The index wavered Wednesday, recently slipping 0.5% to 390.3. The action inside the index was mixed, with 10 of 20 components advancing. Intel's 3.3% gain to $23.51 and strong gains by three chip-equipment stocks accounted for much of the index's move higher.
Advanced Micro Devices
Maxim Integrated Circuits
and even Texas Instruments all slipped Wednesday.
Chip stocks have been on a roller coaster during the past six months as the business climate looks alternately good then bad then improving and then bad again.
helped spur the latest roundout of selling by
soundly missing its first-quarter financial targets last week and stating that its sales for the full year likely will be weak as well. The chip index closed last week at its lowest level in three months.
"There's no common thread," says John Park, technology analyst at Independence Investments. "The market was thrown into a tailspin with IBM last week. Then plenty of guys came out saying things are OK and the market got a boost. And then today, it's tough to see this" lackluster reaction to Intel's news.
Indeed, with financial reports already in from some of the largest chip companies, the result has been a muddied picture of what's happening in the industry. Counterbalancing Intel and TI,
issued third-quarter financial targets below what Wall Street expected amid "general concerns in the macroeconomic environment." Also, a report in
on Tuesday said both Taiwan Semiconductor and
, the world's two largest chip foundries, will lower their financial targets for the second quarter because of weakness in the PC market and for wireless communications equipment.
The net-net is uncertainty around what's ahead, leaving investors not knowing what to expect or where a disconnect will surface between performance and stock price. Part of the problem may be that the first quarter is typically a weak period for semiconductor companies and pegging future demand trends off it is difficult.
Investors should stay tuned, there's still more to come.
are all slated to report financial results between now and the end of April.