Semiconductor outlook gloomy

Semiconductor outlook gloomy

Semiconductor equipment and materials companies may have a tough road ahead, as the market isn't likely to pick up again until the second half of next year, according to a semiconductor analyst for Merrill Lynch & Co.

"We're still nine months away from strong sequential growth rates," analyst Brett Hodess said in a speech at the Microelectronic Materials Strategy Symposium (M2S2) in San Francisco.

"Within several months we would have expected the semi market to hit bottom," but the combination of a weak economy and the recent terrorist attacks on the US are likely to keep the market down for some time, Hodess said.

Hodess also said that although the industry's latest book-to-bill ratio - which compares the dollar amount of orders received in a given month to the dollar amount of products shipped - showed a slight downturn, "the key is really to look at overall orders".

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