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Weekly Bot Brief Newsletter on Robotics 10/4/2019

POSTED 10/06/2019

"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come."  -Victor Hugo

Bot Index Highlights:Bot Index vs. S & P 500, 10-06-2019

The first week of October did not disappoint those market watchers that often proclaim that the first month of the fourth quarter is filled with volatility. A raft of bad economic news dominated the early week’s trading. The September Chicago PMI fell 3 points, with the important production component declining to its lowest point since the 2007/08 recession. Likewise, the non-manufacturing index (service sector) fell 4 points. On the construction front, non-residential construction fell 1% in August. These indicators of economic activity helped to push down the broad markets over 3% during the first two days of the week. However, it was the jobs report that was announced on Friday which helped the market recover somewhat. While the number of employment adds was not particularly robust, the fact that unemployment fell to 3.5%, which is the lowest level in 50 years help push both the Dow and the S & P 500 up 1.42% on Friday.

With the overall week down .33% as measured by the S & P 500, the higher beta bots fell 1.34%. Interestingly, the losers in the Bot Index were dominated by non-domestic issues. Cyberdyne, which was one of the better performers in the prior week, led the decliners with a 9.19% drop. NIO Corp. slid 7.43% and the Swiss firm ABB. Ltd. backed off 6.5%. The major U.S. decliner Ekso Bionics (-5.36%), like Cyberdyne, was also among the gainers for the previous week’s performance.

The Bot Index’s gainers were led by NVIDA’s 6% increase as semiconductor stocks were the driving force in Friday’s rebound. Following NVIDA in the performance column was Northrup Grumman, whose 4.26% jump was attributed to a Zacks Research release that had placed the company on its ‘favorable’ for Earning Surprise Predictions. The company will report its results on October 24 and Zacks led investors to anticipate earnings above current expectations.

Census Consensus:

Noted in Free Market Inc.’s assessment of the employment picture for September was the announcement that the Census Bureau plans to hire 200,000 fewer temporary workers for the 2020 tally. That is one third the amount required for the 2010 evaluation. The fewer workers was attributed to a higher level of automation to be employed by the Agency. In a 2014 release from the Census Bureau the department announced, “We are fundamentally redefining the business processes, core capabilities, and roles of field operations and staff..the effort will evaluate the feasibility of fully utilizing the advantages of planned automation and available real-time data to transform the efficiency and effectiveness of data collection operations.” With the cost of calculating the population estimated at $15.6 billion, efficiencies are important. In the last census (2010) there were 140,000 field workers that canvassed the nation. This year, however, the Bureau will utilize satellite imaging and data integration tools to reduce field headcount by 75% and overall costs by an estimated $5 billion.

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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 and its commentaries, analysis, opinions and research represent the subjective views 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