Major indices such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are making new highs this week, which is why for this week's Mad Money "Off the Charts" feature Jim Cramer enlisted the help of ExplosiveOptions founder and Trifecta Stocks portfolio co-manager Bob Lang to look at a group of stocks that have fueled the rally, semiconductor stocks.
"When the semiconductor group is in bull mode, that's a terrific pillar the rest of the market can lean on as it continues to rally," Cramer said. With that in mind, Lang pointed out the market is witnessing positive action in the semiconductor segment.
"Just take a look at the daily chart of the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) - Get Report , which got hit with a nasty downturn in late April and early May, but then managed to hold above its 200-day moving average," Cramer said. "By the time we got to June, the SMH had broken out to the upside in a major way. Since then, this semiconductor exchange-traded fund has been a pretty strong performer, and even though it plunged 5% on high volume during the Brexit selloff, it's managed to bounce back since then, recovering all of its gains and then some."
First, they looked at Intel (INTC) - Get Report ahead of its latest quarterly report Wednesday of next week. Looking at the company's daily chart, Cramer and Lang noticed that Intel has been breaking out for the past couple of weeks. The run has even been on heavy volume, lending legitimacy to the move higher.
"At the beginning of this month, the MACD flashes a buy signal, where the black line crosses above the red one, and that's been one of the most reliably positive patterns in all of technical analysis," Cramer told viewers. "Sure enough, Intel's been screaming higher ever since. Or look at the Chaikin Money Flow oscillator, which measures the level of buying and selling pressing: for Intel, the Chaikin money flow has remained in extraordinarily positive territory since late May, and it didn't even go negative during the Brexit selloff, meaning big institutional money managers have just kept buying Intel hand over fist."
Lang believes Intel will have a lot of room to run once hit breaks the $35 level.
NXP Semiconductors (NXP) - Get Report , a holding in Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, was next. Cramer likes this company because it is deeply involved in connected car and internet of things projects. The stock has run into a rough patch recently, making a head and shoulders pattern from May through June.
"Near the end of June, NXP broke down below the neckline of that pattern, and after that, which coincided with the Brexit panic, the stock got crushed," Cramer said. "At this point, though, Lang believes that all of the head and shoulders related selling should be finished."
The company's chart is primed for a breakout if bullish momentum indicators like the Relative Strength Index and MACD oscillator are accurate. Still, NXP Semiconductors has a powerful ceiling of resistance at $82, which also happens to be where its 200-day moving average is situated. That's a little less than a point and a half above where the stock's currently trading, and Lang wants to see NXP clear that $82 hurdle before he's willing to give it his endorsement. You know my view: if you like it at $82, you should like it even more at $80," Cramer concluded.
Smartphone amplifier semiconductor maker Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) - Get Report has felt the sting of falling smartphone demand along with Apple for the past three months. The stock has consistently fallen despite improving technical. Lang believes that Skyworks may have already bottomed after the stock made what appears to be a W-shaped bottoming pattern.
"Plus, today the stock jumped over its main ceiling of resistance by rallying above $65. Meanwhile, the Chaikin Money Flow oscillator has started to turn positive," Cramer said. "Lang thinks it's smooth sailing for Skyworks to the high $60s, and if it can climb past $68, a little more than two bucks above where it's currently trading, he says things are likely to get very bullish, and the stock could potentially work its way back to its April highs of $78, which would represent an 18% gain from these levels."
As for Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report , Cramer said that ever since "the big breakout in late February, Qualcomm's stock has been stuck in a fairly tight trading range, as it continuously tries and fails to break out above $55."
However, "Lang thinks the stock could soon be ready to roar," Cramer told viewers. "Near the end of May Qualcomm made a what's known as a golden cross, where the shorter-term 50-day moving average crosses above the longer term 200-day moving average, something most chartists find extremely bullish."
The bottom line is semiconductor stocks are ready to run with the bulls, which could help push the overall market even higher than it already is.
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in NXPI.