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Worldwide semiconductor sales totaled $18.8 billion in October, up 1.5% from September and 22% from a year ago, the Semiconductor Industry Association said. The trade group also said fourth-quarter chip sales probably won't be any higher than the third quarter's.

October's small gain reflected "ongoing inventory corrections in certain market segments," the SIA said. "Sales of digital signal processors rose by 8.5% sequentially, a sign that the inventory correction that began in the wireless handset market in July has run its course."

In a release, the SIA stressed the importance of consumer electronics to the semiconductor industry in the fourth quarter, and warned of a few trends that could hold the space back.

"Consumer electronics sales may be modulated somewhat this season by slower-than-expected growth in the sales of digital video recorders and a very competitive market in DVD players, factors that have put pressure on component suppliers.

"Continuing high energy prices are clearly having some effect on discretionary spending by consumers, reducing visibility for the industry outlook for December sales," the group said. "While we now expect that fourth-quarter sales will be essentially flat at third-quarter levels, we continue to project year-on-year growth of at least 28%."

Chip-related stocks doing appreciable volume in Friday's premarket were mostly higher despite the report, with


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