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ETF News And Commentary

Although technology stocks have been broadly mixed so far in 2013, one sector has shown some promise as of late; semiconductors. This key corner of the tech world has rebounded nicely, easily beating out the market over the last month.

The reasons for this outperformance are varied, but investors can definitely focus in on earnings as one of the top explanations for the surge. Profit results for many of the top companies came in above expectations—along with decent outlooks—causing many traders to bid up these companies in the process (see Three Tech ETFs Still Going Strong).

In fact, a few of the biggest names in the space, Intel (INTC - Analyst Report), Applied Materials (AMAT - Analyst Report), and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM - Snapshot Report) have all gained double digits in the trailing one month time frame. And, smaller more specialized semiconductor firms, such as in the solar industry with First Solar (FSLR - Analyst Report) have also done quite well, suggesting a broad based rally for the sector.

Can It Continue?

The best part about these gains is that they could definitely continue based on some solid trends in the space. Some analysts are expecting global semiconductor sales to continue to rise—even with a decline in PC shipments—as more are sold in emerging technology applications like tablets and smartphones instead.

Thanks to this perception and the rosier outlook for technology in general, many analysts have begun to bump up their estimates for the space, leading to strong Zacks Industry Ranks across the semiconductor market (read New Leadership in the Tech ETF Space?).

In fact, the Zacks Industry Rank for many segments in the space is quite favorable, include a top 50% level for all the semi conductor industries, a top 25% Rank for the semi-general space,  and 5 industries that have a top 20 (out of 261) Ranking as well.

So clearly, at least based on this estimates picture, the trend could continue in the semiconductor space. But since the rally has been so broad based, an ETF approach might be a better play at this time, in order to diversify away some risk and play the solid trends impacting the entirety of the market (also see 3 Apple-Proof ETFs).

In this vein, there are actually a few ETF choices out there to target the market, any of which could be great picks for investors including (SMH - ETF report), (XSD - ETF report), and (SOXX - ETF report). While they are similar, there actually a few key differences that investors should be aware of between the group, some of which we have briefly highlighted in the video below:

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