The Bot Brief
"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo
Bots In the News:
In an abrupt departure from the prior week’s widely dispersed Bot Index components, this week saw most stocks within the Index, cluster around the average. That average, while a very weak negative three-point four eight percent, was still better than the S & P 500 who fell over four percent.
The Bot Index held on four stocks that made headway during the dismal week. Immersion Corp. led the gainers with a 6.24% increase. The upswing was attributed to insider buying of $624,000 of the low-priced shares.
NIO Inc., the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer jumped 4.57% as China announced a stimulus package to try and reinforce growth in the economy. Also adding to some investor relief was an agreement between the SEC and its Chinese counterpart, that audit standards implemented on US listed Chinese companies are sufficient to avoid delisting.
On the weaker side of the performance spectrum were two lower priced components – Cyberdyne (-9.90%) and Accuray Inc. (-8.87). Both had been among the best performers in the prior week having gained 10.79% and 5.22% respectively.
Management comments following a weak earnings report led NVIDIA Corp. shares lower by 8.90%. Observations of weaking computer/gaming microchip demand reported by NVIDIA’s management guidance, pushed investors to the sidelines in the entire chip industry.
Those JAMSTEC Nodules:
The Bot Brief has penned several articles on the robotic mining of underseas manganese nodules by the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. With the recent announcement by California and several other U.S. states that the sale of industrial combustion fueled automobiles will be banned in 2035, attention is being focused on electric vehicles. While the enforcement of the political mandate is questionable, there is an ongoing effort to ramp up production of electrically powered cars. While Elon Musk and others are building new plants to meet the potentially booming demand, the big concern is the lack of battery production and cost. Russia produces 17% of the world’s capacity of nickel, one of the EV battery components. With concerns over supply suspension due to the Ukraine conflict, traders bid up nickel prices by double in March to over $100,000 per ton. The other major battery component is cobalt which comes from an equally politically unstable government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thus enters the role of manganese (not to be confused with magnesium) as a potential alternative battery component. According to the IEEE.Org’s Spectrum Magazine, “High-manganese batteries are being eyeballed by Tesla and VW that would also use less nickel and zero cobalt. According to analysts at Roskill Information Services in London, a lithium nickel manganese oxide chemistry could reduce cathode costs by 47% per kilowatt-hour relative to nickel rich designs.”
Using underwater autonomous submarines, the Japanese have been harvesting manganese nodules within its economic enterprise zone for many years. The Bot Brief has long noted the need for robots in underseas exploration and exploitation and JAMSTEC has been frequently interviewed by The Bot Brief. The growing demand for EV technologies, will certainly add to the need for robotic discovery of essential minerals for the betterment of mankind.
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.