Following on the heels of modest increases this year, makers of chip-making equipment should see stronger growth in 2004, says a Standard & Poor's equity analyst. Expectations for 2003 are of a sales increase of 5%, says analyst Richard Tortoriello. Factors that have Standard & Poor's expecting much stronger growth in the following year are an improving economy and increased capacity utilization. "Continued improvement in the economy should lead to renewed corporate information technology spending," predicts Tortoriello. "Secondly, we expect capacity utilization, which is the percentage of the available equipment used in wafer fabrication being employed, to reach 85% at the end of this year, on the threshold of the critical 85% to 90% rate at which chip makers begin to invest in new capacity." New York-based Standard & Poor's has published its findings in its Industry Survey on Semiconductor Equipment, which is published twice yearly. It is available for purchase online at http://sandp.ecnext.com.