Chips: Nowhere to Go But Up?

The industry's short-term outlook remains grim. For patient investors, however, that may represent a buying opportunity

The past year was the worst in the $204 billion semiconductor industry's history. Chip sales have grown at a 17% average annual compounded rate since the 1950s, when transistors turned huge and bulky radios into the small devices we use today. This year, however, chip sales will fall by about one-third vs. 2000 levels -- the worst slide ever, according to communications consultants Cahners In-Stat.

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