Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of linear and mixed-signal chip designer Maxim Integrated Products (Nasdaq: MXIM) are soaring today as high as 13.2% above last night's closing price.

So what: It's another beat-and-raise performance in Maxim's just-reported first quarter. GAAP earnings tripled year over year amid steady demand and a handful of new product releases, with some help from a generous share buyback program in recent quarters.

Now what: Hesitant reports from a few chip makers clearly don't translate into doom and gloom for the whole industry. With that in mind, consider that Maxim is a fine business but still tends to sport narrower margins than major competitors Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI) and National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM). If Maxim is doing well in this market despite not being quite the best-of-breed competitor, it stands to reason that its superiors should be doing even better.

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