The Bot Brief
"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo
Bots In the News:
Charles Dickens began his classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, with the words, “They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.” A similar statement might be applied to the trading of the Bot Index stocks last week. The Index dropped 2.51 percent, which was well below the 1.21 decline experienced by the S & P 500. However, the interesting part is that the Index’s components’ deviation from the average was significant. Of the six major gainers within the Index, the average deviation from Index value was 731 basis points. Among the eight most significant losers, the figure was 646 basis points. Typically, distributions cluster around the arithmetic mean, however, this week’s trading pointed to a much more ‘barbell’ dispersion.
Of the gainers, the most prominently positive sector was, again, the defense names of Lockheed Martin (+1.33%), Northrup Grumman (+2.33%) and AeroVironment (+4.79%). Clearly, there is something going on with AeroVironment as it has had strength in each of the past five weeks carrying the stock from $78 to the current $102.62, a 31% gain.
Also significant was the 4.27% jump by Hiwin Technologies, the Taiwanese chip manufacturer who has been under pressure since the recent Taiwan visit by the U.S. Speaker of the House.
Accuray Inc. was the most dominant domestic name for the week with a 5.22% increase. The stock had been approaching levels that would have required its replacement in the Index. However, since hitting $1.79 in mid-June, the stock has traded up to close this week at $2.82, a gain of 57.5%.
There were three companies whose stock prices declined within or near double digits. 3D Systems fell 10.40% while Immersion Corp. fell 9.89% and NIO Inc. dropped 9.76%,
Azenta continued its downward spiral by falling another 8.51% and Faro Technologies’ five-week upswing, that carried the stock from $29.50 to $39.12, ended with this week’s 6.75% drop.
The IEEE Spectrum carried a brief article regarding a new device designed by a French firm Interactive Autonomous Dynamic Systems Co. that cleans both the surface of waterways and to a depth of 10 meters. The Jellyfishbot can cruise along autonomously collecting plastics, oil spills and virtually anything that floats on the surface. Furthermore, with the assistance of a remote operator, the aquabot can dive to collect deeper garbage, algae and other natural and man-made waste. In addition to the sweeping mechanism, the device carries a number of sensors designed to measure water quality.
The American Economic Journal’s July 2022 issue carried a tome entitled The Impact of Health on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Large-Scale Health Experiment by professors Melvin Stephens Jr. and Desmond Toohey from the University of Michigan and University of Delaware. The article featured a study of 13,000 workers that had undergone a focused preventative routine to avoid coronary heart disease. According to the authors, “Better health can lead to higher productivity, less working time lost to illness, and lower mortality, which further incentivizes human capital investment.” They found that “the intervention (preventative measures) also significantly increased earnings by 3 percent and family income by 4 percent with no concurrent effect on labor force participation.”
While this seems somewhat self-evident, the recent global bout with the Covid pandemic leads to more questions about human labor health’s impact on corporate earnings and labor income. While it will be years before educators and scientists will have the data to factor in the social and financial implications of the pandemic, suffice it to speculate that robotic production is more likely to be accelerated as a direct result of the health factors caused by the pandemic.
Member: American Economic Association, Society of Professional Journalists, United States Press Association. Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, Robotic Industries Association, Member IEEE.
The Bot Brief is a weekly newsletter designed for economists, investment specialists, journalists, and academicians. It receives no remuneration from any companies that may from time to time be featured in the brief and its commentaries, analysis, opinions, and research represent the subjective view of Balcones Investment Research, LLC. Due to the complex and rapidly changing nature of the subject matter, the company makes no assurances as to the absolute accuracy of material presented.