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Softness Inside?
By Jesse Freund

(Business 2.0) – Tech earnings have slumped and inventories have piled up, prompting concern on Wall Street about the strength of the sector's recovery. Before October's busy earnings season, investors will be watching National Semiconductor's Sept. 9 announcement to see if the current tech dip is a blip or a bomb. Last quarter, revenue at the bellwether company grew by 27 percent year over year, with inventory up by 26 percent. This quarter, sales are projected to rise 37 percent, and analysts will be comparing inventory against the $155 million level of Q1 2003. A sales disappointment or inventory above $225 million may portend a broader tech slump.