Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Counting the Chips in Semiconductors

I recently posted a look at ETFs that showed that small cap stocks are outpacing large caps and growth has been trumping value. Among the possible beneficiaries of this trend are the semiconductor stocks, as noted with my earlier post on INTC.

In the chart above, I've gone back to 2006 and tracked the semiconductor ETF (SMH; blue line) vs. the relative dollar volume flow indicator (pink line) for five top-weighted stocks within SMH: TXN, INTC, AMAT, ADI, and MXIM. Recall that the zero level for relative dollar volume flow represents that level of inflows equal to the 200 day moving average for those stocks. When we see positive values, that means that the sector is enjoying above average sector inflows.

Note that, even with the sharp selloff of late February/early March, we never saw relative money flows for the sector decline to below average. Since that time, we've seen higher highs and higher lows in money flow, with a consistent positive bias. The price of SMH of late has responded to this trend of inflows, breaking out of a consolidation area that goes back to the fourth quarter of 2006.

The ability of semiconductor stocks to maintain inflows during a market decline; a rise in inflows following the decline; a price breakout from a long-term range; a shift in investment themes toward growth: It does appear that someone is putting their chips on the semis.