AMD is leaving the rest of the chip stocks in the dust, but the move could fade

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices are on fire this year, but some traders and strategists are wary about stepping into the name after its hefty 91 percent rally.

AMD is the top-performing stock in the S&P 500's semiconductor industry group this year, outpacing peers like Micron, Nvidia and Texas Instruments by a wide margin. Much of AMD's rally has come in recent months, with an 80 percent gain since May. The stock surged 4 percent Monday after Cowen raised its price target on AMD and forecast better-than-expected profits next year.

Still, others are less confident in the outlook for the name. Semiconductors' exposure to tariff feuds between the U.S. and China place companies like AMD in a bad position, said Larry McDonald, macro strategist and editor of the Bear Traps Report.

"We're really facing, in the next 20 to 40 days, unprecedented supply chain risk for the semiconductor industry, and the stocks are telling you something," McDonald said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation," highlighting that the broader semiconductor tracking SMH ETF is up 5 percent in the last eight months relative to the S&P 500's 9.5 percent rally in the same time period.

The Trump administration will likely grow more aggressive in trade talks with China, McDonald forecast, and "that's going to be front and center. That's going to draw down the semis."

Others are more sanguine on the state of Advanced Micro Devices specifically, but would wait to buy.

"I'm more of a short-term trader. In fact, just more than 15 years ago AMD was the first stock I ever traded, and I really like it here. I like how it's outpaced its peers. However I'm not necessarily buying it here," said Bill Baruch, president of Blue Line Futures, Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

While Baruch sees AMD rising into year-end, he'd wait to buy around $17.75 or $18 per share, representing an 8 to 9 percent decline from current levels.

"The high that we saw in the middle of June down to the low heading into July gave us a range reversal with about $20 being the ceiling. So I think you've got to be patient here, let it settle in just a bit, and I think you'll find some value below $18 for that next move to $22.50 before the end of the year," he added.

AMD shares were trading higher at $19.63 per share Monday, hitting a 52-week high.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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