Two major chipmakers this week gave very different views of whether soaring demand for semiconductors will start to ease in the second half of the year.
It may take another round of earnings next week to settle the question.
Texas Instruments on Wednesday gave a third-quarter sales forecast that was essentially flat, with company executives declining to say what the year's final quarter might look like, a hint that orders might be slowing.
But in contrast, Intel last night raised its full-year forecast, with chief executive Pat Gelsinger saying it could take the chip industry two years to catch up with "explosive demand".
Intel also predicted that a boom in PC sales driven by pandemic work-from-home arrangements would carry through to next year.
Analysts, however, saw the bump in Intel's outlook as driven by a strong, already-ended second quarter, and said that it pointed to a weaker final quarter of 2021. Investors agreed, knocking 3% off the company's shares.
But Intel's raised forecast chimes in with a bullish outlook given by its bigger foundry rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which expects strong sales growth in the current quarter, boosted by solid demand from smartphones, high-performance PCs and autos.
Car industry executives also continue to suggest that the squeeze in semiconductor supply, also spurred by a boom in car sales this year, will stretch into next year.
Other economists and industry executives agree, and say that even if the shortage for car producers abates, other manufacturers will suffer.
For now, investors likely need to wait until next week for more clarity, with AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix all reporting results.
Combined with Intel, AMD's results should give a comprehensive view of the PC and data center markets when the company updates its outlook for the full year.
Qualcomm traditionally only forecasts one quarter in advance, but the company's dominant position in mobile phones means that investors often read its third-quarter forecast as a proxy for fall smartphone launches, including Apple's closely watched iPhone.