Semiconductor Sector Leads The Market During Volatile First Quarter – While much of the stock market is now in negative territory for the first quarter, the semiconductor sector has managed to hold on to a healthy gain. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor exchange traded fund, or SOXX, is up about 4% so far in 2018.Among the top holdings in the 30-stock SOXX are high-flying market darlings Nvidia and Micron.Analysts say a number of forces are driving the sector.Two key growth areas are the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, which are changing everyday life. Another driver is strong demand for memory chips, a critical component in electronics. The industry is also undergoing consolidation, as major players move to streamline operations and lower costs.Global revenue for the sector is expected to grow by 7.5% in 2018, according to Gartner Inc., a research firm.

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