People watch stocks for different reasons -- they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.

With this data we have come up with a new metric, watch interest, to inform investors what stocks their peers keep tabs on in each industry. In the case of the semiconductor industry, watch interest is the percentage of people keeping an eye on semiconductor stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. By looking at what stocks people are most interested in an industry, you can get ahead of the curve by finding hot stocks that you might have otherwise overlooked. That's easy to do in the semiconductor industry as there are more than 170 publicly traded semiconductor stocks. 

The most-watched semiconductor stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is above the rest in terms of watch interest and for good reason. As CAPS player speachless wrote last week:

What is not to like? Solid company balance sheet. Good dividend yield. The buzz is all about mobile computing and the "cloud" but the "cloud" is a large server farm that runs on INTC chips. As cloud storage takes off, [Intel] will have large steady buyers. If Intel ever cracks the mobile market, the stock could change from a large cap value play to a large cap growth play. That would be very nice indeed.

Here are the rest of the 15 most-watched companies in the industry with their watch interest along with the stocks' CAPS rating to show the sentiment of our investing community.

 

Company

Market Cap (in millions)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Watch Interest

1

Intel

$118,129

****

15.4%

2

NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA)

$8,281

****

6.5%

3

Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS)

$1,056

****

4.9%

4

Micron Technology (NYSE: MU)

$7,259

****

4.4%

5

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD)

$4,249

**

4.0%

6

Cree (Nasdaq: CREE)

$3,309

***

3.9%

7

NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI)

$5,308

****

3.3%

8

ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH)

$12,590

***

3.2%

9

Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT)

$16,214

****

2.6%

10

Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS)

$4,139

***

2.5%

11

RF Micro Devices (Nasdaq: RFMD)

$1,611

****

2.3%

12

Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN)

$35,392

****

2.1%

13

TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT)

$1,557

****

2.0%

14

Marvell Technology Group (Nasdaq: MRVL)

$8,945

****

2.0%

15

MIPS Technologies (Nasdaq: MIPS)

$342

***

1.8%

Sources: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Intel or are watching an up-and-comer like MIPS Technologies, it pays to watch. We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock tracking service. Click here to start now.

Dan Dzombak's musings and articles he finds interesting can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak.

The Motley Fool owns shares of TriQuint Semiconductor, Marvell Technology Group, Applied Materials, Texas Instruments, and Cirrus Logic. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of NXP Semiconductors NV, NVIDIA, and Intel. They have also recommended writing puts in NVIDIA and creating a diagonal call position in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.