Semiconductors could plunge into bear market by year-end: Macro expert

Investing & Retiring


Investors could call them chips passing in the night.

While semiconductor stock AMD soars this year, jumping 50 percent in just three months, its peer Micron is badly underperforming.

Micron shares are down around 12 percent in that period, placing the stock on track for its first negative quarter in more than two years.

Amid this divergence, some market participants are betting on even further downside for Micron, and for the chips more broadly. Micron sunk more than 5 percent on Wednesday amid a broader technology sell-off. The stock extended losses from the session prior, after after a filing showed hedge fund Greenlight Capital cut its stake in the chip stock.

“We think it’s going to be a messy September for trade talks, so that’s the number one warning sign. But then, if you look at the seasonal factors, there are all kinds of red flags,” including elevated inventory levels, Larry McDonald, editor of the Bear Traps Report, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

“We think the SMH [semiconductor ETF] here could be a 20 percent drop by year-end; I think it’s a screaming sell. The risk/reward to being short is very, very positive, and the risk/reward to being long, because of the macro factors, is very, very negative.”

From a technical perspective, Micron looks primed to keep sliding, according to TradingAnalysis.com founder Todd Gordon. Examining a chart of Micron back to 2007, the gains are easy to see; the stock has gone from $2 a share to north of $60 earlier this year.

“It’s been an amazing run, but you can see that by way of a parallel channel, we’re approaching an overbought status. Further, if you look at every time Micron interacts with the upper end of the channel, it kind of does this double-top, then backs away. Then a double-top, then backs away. I kind of see that happening right now, again indicating we have some underperformance,” Gordon said Tuesday on “Trading Nation.”

The stock’s performance relative to the semiconductor-tracking SMH, Gordon also noted, never recaptured its dot-com era-level highs.



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