CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday broke down some of the best-performing stocks in the Nasdaq 100 in 2021, offering his thoughts on how investors should approach them in the new year.
“Many of these Nasdaq winners have fallen out of favor and become incredibly dangerous, but the more tangible ones … can work here,” the “Mad Money”‘ host said.
Lucid Group shares rose 280% in 2021, and Cramer said he knows many investors are justifiably looking for “the next Tesla.” However, he cautioned that Lucid is still in the early stages of scaling up production.
“As much as I love the story, I hate the timing, especially with another lockup expiration … coming later this month,” he said. “The last one crushed the stock.”
Cramer jumped to the fifth-best performer, Marvell Technology, because he discussed numbers 2-4 — Moderna, Fortinet and Nvidia, respectively — on Monday’s episode of “Mad Money” as part of a segment on the top S&P 500 stocks.
For Marvell, Cramer noted he’s long been a fan of the semiconductor company, which has undergone a reinvention under the leadership of President and CEO Matt Murphy. “I think it can keep working in 2022 because this is a real company with real products and real profits. Notice, it was barely off today even as the rest of tech melted down,” Cramer said.
Technicians work on machinery at the Applied Materials facility in Santa Clara, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Cramer said he believes investors should look to own Applied Materials, shares of which rose 82% in 2021, or one of its fellow semiconductor equipment makers such as KLA Corp. and ASML. KLA was the ninth-best performer in the Nasdaq 100, while ASML was No. 11.
Cramer cited the long-term demand trends, as semiconductors become integral to a growing number of products from cell phones to automobiles. “Think of them as the limited arms dealers in the semiconductor cold war. I’d buy them on any dip, however shallow,” he said.
Cramer said even though Datadog is considered a best-of-breed company in the world of cloud-based data analytics and monitoring, he believes investors are better suited in a different part of the stock market right now.
“This thing lost 8% of its value yesterday for no particular reason and then tumbled another 3.7% today. … It’s not the kind of stock you can afford to own when rates are on the rise,” Cramer said.
Cramer said he believes Intuit —which has TurboTax, QuickBooks and Credit Karma in its product suite — has the best chance of any company on the list to repeat its “terrific” 2021 performance this year. Cramer touted Intuit’s aggressive acquisition strategy in recent years and said it’s become an indispensable company for small and medium-sized businesses. It rose nearly 70% in 2021.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer at Google LLC, speaks during the Google Cloud Next ’19 event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. The conference brings together industry experts to discuss the future of cloud computing.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google-parent Alphabet saw its stock jump 65% last year. While some may say it’s just catching up to its mega-cap tech peers, Cramer said the stock’s story is more complicated than that. The company benefited from the rebound in advertising spending from industries such as travel, Cramer said, adding that investors are also expecting big things from the Google Cloud division.
Cramer said he’s a fan of Atlassian, which makes tools for software developers, as a company.
“I like the product, seems indispensable to many,” Cramer said. “But this is one that’s just totally out of style, so if you want to stick with it, you need to get used to pain.”
Similarly to Atlassian, Cramer said he likes Zscaler as a company but believes the cybersecurity stock, which rose 61% in 2021, is tough to own at this current moment.
Chipmaker AMD rose 57% last year, and Cramer said he thinks the stock has become one that investors should own, not trade.
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Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Nvidia, Marvell Technology, AMD and Alphabet.