“Unit production estimates for premium smartphones, graphics cards, video game consoles and automotive applications have improved and contributed to the stronger outlook in 2017. In addition, electronic equipment with heavy exposure to DRAM and NAND flash saw semiconductor revenue estimates increase. This includes PCs, ultramobiles, servers and solid-state drives,” according to Gartner.
Rising product prices are seen as another catalyst for semiconductor stocks and ETFs such as SMH and SOXX.
“PC DRAM pricing has doubled since the middle of 2016. A 4GB module that cost $12.50 has jumped to just under $25 today. NAND flash ASPs increased sequentially in the second half of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. Pricing for both DRAM and NAND is expected to peak in the second quarter of 2017, but relief is not expected until later in the year as content increases in key applications, such as smartphones, have vendors scrambling for supply,” note Gartner.
Traders looking to make bearish bets on chip ETFs can consider the ProShares UltraShort Semiconductors (NYSEArca: SSG), which takes the -2x or -200% daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Semiconductors Index and the Direxion Daily Semiconductors Bear 3x Shares (NYSEArca: SOXS), which provides a -3x or -300% performance of the PHLX Semiconductor Select Index.
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