Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) reported a preliminary book-to-bill ratio of 1.42 for April. That means U.S. companies received $142 in orders for each $100 worth of semiconductor products shipped.
"Strong chip demand worldwide and new (fabrication) activity, especially in the Asia Pacific region, are fueling a sustained expansion of the semiconductor equipment sector," said Stanley Myers, president of SEMI, in a statement.
The April results mark a slight retreat from previous months: The book-to-bill ratio was 1.44 in February and 1.45 in March. Nevertheless, the April ratio reflects strong demand compared with a year ago, when the industry was just entering a cyclical upturn.
The three-month average of orders received in April 2000 was $2.7 billion, 94 percent above the $1.4 billion posted the year before. The three-month average of worldwide shipments in April 2000 was $1.9 billion, 76 percent above the shipments level of $1.1 billion in April 1999.
"This confirms a trend," said semiconductor analyst David Wu of ABN Amro. "Business is booming, and we knew that."
The Philadelphia semiconductor index fell 72.92, or almost 8 percent, to 869.74 today, led by Rambus, which closed down $20.25, or 12 percent, to $150.63.
Shares in other chip companies also dropped. KLA-Tencor fell $5.56 to $46.50, and Intel dropped $8.50 to $109.88. Teradyne dipped $9.13 to $75.38, and Applied Materials declined $7.44 to $71.88.