If there's one place you want to be this year, it's in semiconductor stocks.
After snoring its way to a 5% decline in 2012, the chip sector is going to look more like Flash Gordon than Rip van Winkle in the New Year.
Projections are calling for across-the-board revenue growth of as much as 10% - and some parts of the chip market could advance at three times that already-hefty pace.
Double-digit growth in a slow-growth economy is pretty great all by itself. But the fact that semiconductor stocks have actually been negatively correlated to the broader stock market means this is an investment that could also serve as a bit of a hedge against a drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
So let's take a little tour of the latest forecasts.
Our first stop will be accounting-and-consulting firm KPMG LLC.
In its latest Global Semiconductor Survey, which it conducts annually, KPMG found that three-quarters of the semiconductor executives it polled are expecting revenue growth this year. Two-thirds expect to hire more workers (up from 48% in last year's survey) and 71% say annual industry profitability will increase in 2013.
The survey, conducted in September, polled more than 150 sector leaders - primarily senior-level executives - at device, foundry and "fabless" manufacturers. Half of those companies have revenues of $1 billion or more.
The execs' consensus viewpoint: The semi sector will experience a recovery that builds up steam - especially heading into the second half of the year.
Let's consider a couple of other predictions.
Investing in Semiconductor Stocks: Three Chipmakers on the Upswing
Global semiconductor sales have been pretty listless lately, but new data suggests a turnaround is on the horizon for this sector.
In fact, one new forecast by research firm IDC predicts the rate of growth in the semiconductor sector could potentially double in the latter part of this year.
For semiconductor stocks, this newfound growth could provide a big lift in profits.
Even smaller chipmakers may have suitors knocking on their doors for takeovers as they look to increase their market share.
What does this mean for investors?
Now is the time to start looking for the next big winner in semiconductors.
Semiconductor Stocks in 2012According to IDC,semiconductor sales increased 3.7% to $301 billion last year thanks to increased orders for wireless-device chips.
But 2012 looks even better. The forecast has worldwide semiconductor sales increasing 6%-7%. This will come from declining customer inventories and the never-ending demand for smartphones, tablets and "iDevices."
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