Semiconductor stocks faced a sell-off in late trading today as investors took profits after the release of a strong supply-and-demand report for November.
A report known as the "book-to-bill ratio," which compares new orders against shipments of chips, last month reached 1.15 for North and South America. The figure represents $115 new orders for every $100 in shipments, marking its highest level in more than a year and the fifth consecutive month it has improved.
New orders reached $3.96 billion for November, up 6.1 percent from the previous month, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. Shipments, meanwhile, rose 2.9 percent to $3.44 billion, compared with October figures, according to the report, which was released after the market's close yesterday.
Chips makers initially got a significant boost from the news in morning trading, but late in the afternoon investors began to take their money and run.
"Healthy profit-taking took place today," said Dan Klesken, an analyst with Robertson Stephens. "By midday, many stocks were still up from their opening. But by the end of day, a large fraction were down."
He added that many of the semiconductor stocks have moved at a good clip of late, so that the profit-taking is no need for concern.
Intel traded as high as 133-3/8 per share this morning, before closing at 129-1/8 a share. That was down from its close of 130-1/8 yesterday. (Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.)
AMD closed at 26-1/8 a share, down 1/2 from the previous day. The chip maker, however, traded as high as 27-3/8 a share during the day.
Cyrix did not get as much mileage from the book-to-bill figures. The company never climbed beyond its Monday's close of 22-3/8 a share, before closing down at 19-1/2 a share today.
Motorola (MOT) was among the semiconductor companies to maintain its gain from the day before, ending up 1/2 of a point to close at 55-1/4. And during the day, the giant chip maker peaked at 56-3/8 a share.