Information technology research company Gartner Inc. cut its 2015 outlook for global semiconductor sales growth on Wednesday, to 4% from 5.4%, citing concerns over the strength of the U.S. dollar, excess inventories and the end of PC upgrade cycle. "The downward revision from last quarter's forecast is due to these three factors combining to create a significant headwind for the semiconductor market in 2015," said Gartner vice president of research Bryan Lewis. Gartner now expects chip sales to reach $354 billion, compared with its Jan. 14 estimate of $358 billion. Gartner said the dollar's strength is causing suppliers to raise prices in certain regions, such as Europe, to maintain margins, which in turn is prompting buyers to push out purchases. Meanwhile, Gartner increased its growth outlook for DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) to 7.9% from 7.7%. The PHLX Semiconductor Index , which was up 0.8% in morning trade, has gained 3.8% year to date, outperforming the S&P 500's 2.1% advance.
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