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Semiconductor Watchlist: Nvidia Challenges Intel and AMD

See buy or sell recommendations for Qualcomm, Nxp, Broadcom, Taiwan Semiconductor, and more semiconductor stocks.

The semiconductor sector remained hot in the first quarter of 2021, returning more than 12% and positioning itself among the market's leaders.

The rally could continue well into the summer, wrote David Dierking of ETFFocus on TheStreet. "If you were on the wrong side of the semiconductor trade in Q1 and you held the Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3x Shares ETF (SOXS) throughout, you would have lost more than 45%," he added.

However, the recent semiconductor chip storage made some waves in the sector. President Joe Biden hosted a semiconductor summit at the White House Monday to discuss the shortage impacting many industries, including the auto industry.

"I think it's time that the Taiwanese start playing ball. I think they spend too much time trying to cater to China, and not enough time trying to cater to us. It is vital that they send chips to GM  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report and Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report," said the founder of TheStreet Jim Cramer.

"We can't have people laid off or out of work because of GM and Ford's problems with a few chip companies. I hope that President Biden lobbies for all the chip companies to make the chips that we need. It's time," Cramer added. 

In February, chipmaker Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report reported fiscal-fourth-quarter results that topped analyst estimates for both earnings and revenue. And, it continually gained significant momentum throughout the first quarter of 2021 amid the shortage.

Cramer said Monday that Nvidia isn't only challenging the likes of Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report and Advanced Micro Devices  (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Report -- it's become the most valuable semiconductor company of our day.

For more in-depth coverage of the semiconductor sector including trading recommendations and investment strategies, follow Eric Jhonsa on Real Money.

Here is a list of the semiconductor stocks to watch and their performance by percentage change at the close of trading on Wednesday, Apr. 14:

Nvidia Corp | +8.66% 5-Day

Chipmaker Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report announced Monday it was offering its first server microprocessors, a move that will further heat up its rivalry with Intel.

Nvidia said it will release its Grace server processor in 2023. It is designed to handle tasks like training artificial intelligence algorithms.

The chip is based on technology from the United Kingdom's Arm Ltd. In September, Nvidia said it had reached a deal to acquire Arm from Softbank for $40 billion. Arm's technology goes into chips powering billions of devices shipping each year -- everything from smartphones to video cameras to hard drives to washing machines.

Cramer said it's a very lucrative enterprise market for Nvidia and has been singing the praises of the company for a while now. "Nvidia is offering an unbeatable chip for a data center that is much faster than anybody else has," said Cramer.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Nvidia as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Qualcomm | -3.40% 5-Day

Qualcomm  (QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report shares fell Monday after Evercore ISI downgraded the semiconductor giant to in-line from outperform, cutting its share-price target to $150 from $195.

“While Qualcomm has had a good run, up 146% since before the Apple settlement and 59% since our addition to Top Picks in June 2020, we now believe the lion’s share of the 5G smartphone upcycle is priced into shares,” Evercore analyst C.J. Muse wrote in a commentary.

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TheStreet Recommends

Qualcomm recently traded at $138.95, down 1.15%. It’s still up 11% for the last six months.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Qualcomm as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Nxp Semiconductors | -5.59% 5-Day

Nxp Semiconductors  (NXPI) - Get NXP Semiconductors N.V. Report was downgraded to equal-weight from overweight by analysts at Morgan Stanley this past week. The investment firm raised its price target on NXP to $213 a share from $190.

NXP has outperformed broad-based suppliers by 115%, according to Morgan Stanley, and the S&P 500 by 160%, driven by its inclusion into the S&P index in March. That rise gives NXP less room to run higher. 

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates NXP Semiconductors as a Buy with a rating score of B-.

Intel | -3.35% 5-Day

Officials from Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report, Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report, and General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report met with the White House Monday to discuss the impact a global semiconductor shortage is having on U.S. manufacturers.

Last month, Intel said it would build two new chip factories in Arizona, as the once-dominant chipmaker tries to regain momentum and favor in the U.S.

The company plans to evolve into both a designer and manufacturer and next-generation computer and smartphone chips while also developing a new business -- thanks in part to a development partnership with IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report  -- that allows other companies to use its Arizona hub to make their own semiconductors.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Intel as a Buy with a rating score of A-.

Advanced Micro Devices | -4.25% 5-Day

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices'  (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Report $35 billion deal to acquire Xilinx  (XLNX) - Get Xilinx Inc. Report has been approved by shareholders of both chipmakers this past week.

AMD, of Santa Clara, Calif., last October agreed to acquire Xilinx, San Jose, Calif. Under the terms, AMD will pay 1.7234 shares for each Xilinx share.

“The acquisition will bring together two industry leaders with complementary product portfolios and customers,” the companies said in a statement.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates AMD as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing | +1.08% 5-Day

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing  (TSM) - Get Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. Report boosted its near-term investment plans on Mar. 31, pledging to spend $100 billion over the next three years to increase production capacity, including a previously-announced factory it will build in Arizona.

"You're in good shape there. I would buy it at these levels," Jim Cramer said of the company this past week.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates TSM as a Buy with a rating score of A.

Broadcom | -0.87% 5-Day

Broadcom  (AVGO) - Get Broadcom Inc. Report shares fell slightly this past week after a media report said Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report is working on its own chips to power its networks, which could reduce its dependence on the semiconductor giant.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Broadcom as a Buy with a rating score of A-.

Micron Technology | -3.37% 5-Day

Micron Technology  (MU) - Get Micron Technology Inc. Report reported fiscal-second-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings that exceeded Wall Street estimates. The company's adjusted earnings more than doubled to 98 cents a share from 45 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Micron as a Buy with a rating score of B.

Texas Instruments | -1.38% 5-Day

Texas Instruments  (TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report announced this past week that it will webcast its first-quarter 2021 earnings conference call on Tuesday, April 27.

Rafael Lizardi, senior vice president, and chief financial officer, and Dave Pahl, vice president and head of Investor Relations, will discuss TI's financial results and answer questions from the investor audience.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Texas Instruments as a Buy with a rating score of A.

AMD, Broadcom, and Nvidia are key holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells any stock? Learn more from Cramer and his membership team now.