The Bot Brief
"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo
Bots in The News:
An improvement in the housing statistics and a much higher than expected number in last month’s inflation gauge led the Fed Watchers to anticipate a possible bump up interest rates another 50 basis points in its March meeting. Consequently, the market reacted with a 2.673% downdraft by the S & P 500. The Bot Index also fell but some strength by Immersion Corp. and NVIDIA Corp. helped mitigate the fall to 2.34%.
NVIDIA was the strongest performer in the Bot Index with its 8.87% climb. The stock is up 60% year to date and performed strongly last week due to increasing applications of its AI chip. The explosion in interest in ChatGPT and the overwhelming growth of its AI app has prompted investors looking longer term into NVIDIA’s dominance in the artificial intelligence marketplace.
Immersion Corp. jumped 5.68% following its year end earnings report. Revenues reached $38.5 million versus 2022’s $35.1 million. Net Income rose to $30.7 million, up from last years’ $12.5 million and EPS went from $.39 to $.92.
Eight components of the Bot Index fell in excess of 5%. 3D Systems was the worst performer, experiencing a 10.53% decline. Its decline, as well as the 5.9% drop in Lincoln Electric, was probably a result of investors taking recent profits.
Tesla and NIO Inc. both fell in tandem as investors await Elon Musk’s Tesla Investors’ Day next Wednesday.
Google fell 5.59% following a Wall Street Journal report i n which the Justice Department indicated that the company destroyed written evidence in their investigation into anti-trust activities.
Other notable losers last week included: Azenta Corp. (-5.55%). Accuray Inc. (-8.06%), and Faro Corp. (-7.63%)
“To the Moon, Alice.”
Robots will play a major role in the exploration and development of resources in both the seas and on the moon. To underscore this expectation, The Economist recently ran a feature ‘This Time it’s Private’ which focused on three companies seeking to place private landing crafts on the moon. Two U.S. companies and a Japanese private venture are racing to see which commercial venture will make it to the moon first. Certainly, governments have placed material on the moon’s surface, however, as we have noted with the sparkling success of SpaceX’s outer space ventures, private companies can tap alternative sources of both financial and intellectual property. Certainly, interest in the moon as a commercial event or as a stepping stone for more aggressive galactic ventures will be accelerated with private corporate interest.
The Japanese mission has already been launched and is expected to conduct a slower but low energy landing sometime in April. Its strategy is to save on fuel in order to increase payload to two lunar landers.
A Houston company, Intuitive Machines, is expected to be launched in March on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and arrive in six days. Its lander, Nova-C will carry a number of cameras and other instruments and is partly funded by NASA. Nova-C is the first of three that Intuitive Machines will be launching by 2025.
The third venture is a combination of a new rocket booster developed by United Launch Alliance and a rover by Astrobotic Technology. The enterprise has fitted its lunar rover with a variety of instruments that pave the way for a future mission that will focus on geological resource prospecting.
Much like the issues of ownership over the exploration and exploitation of Antarctica, the question of who owns the moon will accelerate. The current treaty, The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, is archaic and will need to be superseded by an upgraded agreement, a challenging task with the current state of international animosity.
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.