NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Technology stocks have outperformed the broader markets this year, and that's expected to continue.

It's one of 12 sectors where investors should put their money, according to TheStreet's Jim Cramer. In each of Cramer's 12 sectors, "you can almost throw darts and win with a couple of rare exceptions," Cramer wrote in Here Are 12 Sectors to Bet On on the Real MoneyWeb site.

The S&P Information Technology Sector Index is up 20% this year compared to the broader S&P 500 index this year, which is up 12%.

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We've listed Cramer's picks alongside the TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary stock rating tool which projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 30 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating stocks. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Cramer's analysis and that of TheStreet Ratings may differ as Cramer may evaluate stocks without regard to time horizon, while TheStreet Ratings uses consensus estimates for the next 12 months only. In addition, changes in TheStreet Ratings may lag Jim Cramer's analysis, as consensus estimates may take some time to change meaningfully.

"You know that Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , at two discount points to the average S&P 500 stock, will be THE stock that people must show they own," Cramer wrote, but there are other tech companies that deserve attention, including chip stocks, semiconductors and even two big Internet companies.

Check out Cramer's top picks in the tech sector.

Apple

Apple (AAPL) - Get Report designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players, and sells a variety of related software, services and accessories. The company's products and services include iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple TV, the iOS and OS X operating systems, iCloud, among other products.

Apple's net sales for its fiscal 2014 year (ended Sept. 30) totaled $183 billion.

Market Cap: $677 billion

52-week high: $119.75 on Nov. 25, 2014

52-week low: $70.50 on Jan. 31

Year-to-date Return: 44%

TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: AAPL Ratings Report

Intel

Intel (INTC) - Get Report designs and manufactures digital technology platforms in the form of microprocessors and chipsets that are sold to equipment manufacturers and design manufacturers in computing and communications industries.

Intel's net revenue for fiscal 2013 totaled $52.7 billion.

Market Cap: $182 billion

52-week high: $37.90 on Dec. 5, 2014

52-week low: $23.50 on Feb. 5

Year-to-date Return: 45%

TheStreet Ratings team rates INTEL CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate INTEL CORP (INTC) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: INTC Ratings Report

MicronTechnology

Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report is a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, and engineering technology. The Boise, Idaho-based company manufactures and market a full range of DRAM, NAND Flash and NOR Flash memory, as well as other memory technologies, packaging solutions and semiconductor systems for use in computing, consumer, networking, automotive, industrial, embedded and mobile products. It sells its products to equipment manufacturers and retailers around the world.

Micron's net sales for fiscal 2014 (ended Aug. 28) totaled $16.4 billion.

Market Cap: $39 billion

52-week high: $36.50 on Dec. 4, 2014

52-week low: $20.63 on Jan. 6

Year-to-date Return: 67%

TheStreet Ratings team rates MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC (MU) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MU Ratings Report

Altera

Altera (ALTR) - Get Report a global semiconductor company that designs and sells a variety of products, including: programmable logic devices, power system-on-chip devices, intellectual property cores, and proprietary development software.

Altera's net sales for fiscal 2013 totaled $1.7 billion.

Market Cap: $11.5 billion

52-week high: $37.82 on Dec. 4, 2014

52-week low: $30.47 on Oct. 10

Year-to-date Return: 16%

TheStreet Ratings team rates ALTERA CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ALTERA CORP (ALTR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ALTR Ratings Report

RF MicroDevices

RF Micro Devices (RFMD) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance radio frequency (rf) solutions. The Greensboro, N.C.-based company provides mobile device and communications equipment manufacturers the critical rf components necessary to transmit and receive signals - enabling worldwide mobility, enhanced connectivity, and advanced functionality. RF Micro will complete its merger with TriQuint Semiconductor (TQNT) on Dec. 31. The new combined company will be called Qorvo and listed on the Nasdaq under "QRVO."

RF Micro Device's net sales for fiscal 2013 totaled $964 million.

Market Cap: $4.5 billion

52-week high: $15.74 on Dec. 5, 2014

52-week low: $4.50 on Jan. 10

Year-to-date Return: 202%

TheStreet Ratings team rates RF MICRO DEVICES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate RF MICRO DEVICES INC (RFMD) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: RFMD Ratings Report

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KLA-Tencor

KLA-Tencor (KLAC) - Get Report a leading supplier of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related nanoelectronics industries. Products are also used in a number of other high-tech industries, including the light emitting diode (LED) and data storage industries, as well as general materials research.

KLA-Tencor's net sales for fiscal 2014 (ended June 30) totaled $2.9 billion.

Market Cap: $11.6 billion

52-week high: $71.71 on Dec. 4, 2014

52-week low: $47.78 on Feb. 4

Year-to-date Return: 36%

TheStreet Ratings team rates KLA-TENCOR CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KLA-TENCOR CORP (KLAC) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: KLAC Ratings Report

Applied Materials

Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Report is a global leader in precision materials engineering solutions for the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic industries. The technology helps make innovations like smartphones, flat screen TVs and solar panels more affordable and accessible to consumers and businesses around the world.

Applied Materials' net sales for fiscal 2014 (ended Oct. 26) totaled $9 billion.

Market Cap: $30 billion

52-week high: $24.85 on Dec. 4, 2014

52-week low: $16.40 on Jan. 31

Year-to-date Return: 38%

TheStreet Ratings team rates APPLIED MATERIALS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate APPLIED MATERIALS INC (AMAT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMAT Ratings Report

Lam Research

Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Report is a global supplier of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry.

Lam Research's net sales for fiscal 2014 (ended June 29) totaled $4.6 billion.

Market Cap: $13 billion

52-week high: $85.70 on Dec. 4, 2014

52-week low: $48.45 on Feb. 3

Year-to-date Return: 54%

TheStreet Ratings team rates LAM RESEARCH CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LAM RESEARCH CORP (LRCX) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: LRCX Ratings Report

HP

HP (HPQ) - Get Report is a technology company that sells printing, personal systems, software, services and IT infrastructure solutions. HP announced in October plans to split the company, one focused on enterprise and the other focused on PCs.

Hewlett-Packard's net revenue for fiscal 2014 (ended Oct. 31) totaled $111 billion.

Market Cap: $73 billion

52-week high: $39.57 on Nov. 28, 2014

52-week low: $26.29 on Dec. 13, 2013

Year-to-date Return: 41%

TheStreet Ratings team rates HEWLETT-PACKARD CO as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate HEWLETT-PACKARD CO (HPQ) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: HPQ Ratings Report

Yahoo!

Yahoo! (YHOO) is a global technology company focused on search, communications, digital magazines and video. The company's mission is to create "highly personalized experiences" for its more than 800 million monthly users across mobile, tablets and desktop computers.

Net revenue for Yahoo! totaled $4.7 billion in fiscal 2013.

Market Cap: $48 billion

52-week high: $52.62 on Nov. 18, 2014

52-week low: $32.15 on April 11

Year-to-date Return: 25%

TheStreet Ratings team rates YAHOO INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate YAHOO INC (YHOO) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: YHOO Ratings Report

Alibaba

Alibaba (BABA) - Get Report is a Chinese e-commerce company that operates under a handful of websites for consumers and businesses. Alibaba listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange in September.

Market Cap: $269 billion

52-week high: $120 on Nov. 13

52-week low: $82.81 on Oct. 15

Year-to-date Return: NA

-Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski