U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs on Monday said it had raised its investment ratings on several semiconductor makers in anticipation of the business environment turning positive toward the fourth quarter.

``Data points are no longer universally negative, and fundamentals are likely to strengthen in the fourth quarter 2001, even if the improvement is 'only' inventory-related,'' Goldman wrote in a research note. 

Goldman added Intel Corp., Analog Devices Inc. and Maxim Integrated Products Inc. to its U.S. ``Recommended List,'' and upgraded Linear Technology Corp. to ``market outperformer.'' 

``We believe that PCs and handsets will be on the leading edge of recovery and thus continue to like Intel...and Micron Technology Inc.,'' Goldman added. Micron Tech is already on the investment bank's Recommended List. 

Goldman said its enthusiasm for datacom, wireline and telecom-centric plays like Altera Corp., Lattice Semiconductor Corp. and Xilinx Inc. was limited by the expectation that both inventory and demand recovery is likely to lag. 

Goldman maintained LSI Logic Corp. as ``market outperformer'' and National Semiconductor Corp. as ''market performer.''