Ex-CEO of chip company says Nvidia is not the best gauge of China economy

Investors shouldn’t gauge the state of semiconductors on Nvidia‘s vulnerabilities because the overall market is still in a good position, T.J. Rodgers, co-founder of Cypress Semiconductor, told CNBC on Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about Nvidia,” he said on “Squawk Alley” a day after the chipmaker chopped its fiscal fourth-quarter sales forecastby more than 18 percent. “They make very specialized chips” like for bitcoin mining.

Nvidia has joined a growing number of tech companies, including Apple, that are offering up dim outlooks because of a probable slowdown in China’s economy. But Rodgers is looking past those names and keeping a careful eye on Micron, which he calls the best semiconductor maker in the world and a better indicator of China.

Micron makes memory products for various industries, including automotive and consumer electronics, and has 51 percent revenue exposure in China.

“If they’re slowing down, you could scale the number of electronic products China’s gonna make pretty much by watching what they do,” Rodgers said.

He acknowledged that a number of tech companies had mixed earnings for their latest quarters, such as Intel, which missed Wall Street’s revenue projections by nearly 2 percent. Apple is scheduled to report after the bell Tuesday and semiconductor manufacturers like Nvidia and Micron will come out with their own releases in the next two months.

Still, Rodgers insists that there is no fundamental threat to the market because the industry has been consolidating, making companies larger and more profitable.

“The revenue is a little bit weak, but the earnings are fine,” he said. “So, with regards to earnings, if you believe in price-to-earnings ratios, things are still fine and they will remain fine ’cause their industry is stronger right now.”

Rodgers stepped down as CEO of Cypress in 2016 after leading the company for more than three decades.

The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) is up 16 percent from bottom the day after the Christmas, but the sector is down more than 12 percent in the last year.

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