Sorting Through the Chip-Stock Mess

Some companies in promising niches could do still well despite the hard times crimping the overall semiconductor sector

Chip stocks have seen better days. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOXX ), which began 2000 at 704.56, closed the year at 576.61, a drop of 18.1%. Although the index has bounced back to around 640 currently, many experts say it'll be some time before the sector's fundamentals begin to improve again as chip demand continues to sputter.

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