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Are chip-related names the new defensive stocks?

Memories of dot-com bubble temper rosy growth prospects

Semiconductor-sector stocks should no longer be lumped into the "economically sensitive" category, some argue.

TOKYO -- As semiconductor-linked Japanese manufacturers continue to benefit from growing information technology demand, some opinion holds that their shares, traditionally regarded as economically sensitive, should now be treated as defensive stocks. But this view warrants caution in light of the dot-com crash of the early 2000s.

Many such shares continue to climb as the Nikkei Stock Average's rally loses steam. Wafer producer Sumco has roughly doubled since the start of 2017 to hit a year-to-date high Wednesday. Chipmaking equipment makers Tokyo Electron and Disco have traded high as well. 

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