Chip stocks underperform following Wells Fargo downgrade

|By:, SA News Editor

Wells Fargo's David Wong has cut his rating for the semiconductor industry to Market Perform, citing Intel and TSMC's (TSM +1.6%) Q4 guidance, and downbeat commentary from tech companies about electronics demand. That, along with an adverse reaction to AMD's Q3 numbers and Q4 guidance, is leading chip stocks to underperform (SOXX -0.2%) on a day when Internet stocks are flying higher thanks to Google.

Intel's guidance for seasonally strong Q4 implies only a 2% Q/Q sales increase at the midpoint. TSMC, which delivered its Q3 results yesterday, is guiding for Q4 revenue to fall to NT$144B-$147B ($4.9B-$5B) from Q3's NT$162.58B ($5.53B).

Though Q4 tends to be seasonally weak for foundries, TSMC did partly attribute its guidance to customer inventory adjustments and softening high-end mobile device demand.

Wong's downgrade is accompanied by ratings cuts for analog chipmakers International Rectifier and Monolithic Power. It comes two weeks after trade association SIA reported global chip sales rose 6.4% Y/Y in August; that was the fastest growth rate posted since March '11.

Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG