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Weekly Bot Brief Newsletter on Robotics 12/11/2020

POSTED 12/13/2020

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

Bots in The News:Bot Index vs. S & P 500, 12-13-2020

For the second consecutive week, the broad averages bested the bots. Last week the Bot Index declined 1.31% while the S & P 500 fell less than a percentage point. While there were no double digit moves in either the gainers or losers, as was consistent with the prior trading week, several Japanese components of the Bot Index proved the driving force for the underperformance of the robots. 

The three prime gainers included an unusual array of companies that seldom show up on the leaderboard. Oceaneering International gained 7.75% as oil prices seem to have firmed. Hiwin Technologies continued its slow increase from late October’s $249 to the closing price of $343.5. The week’s 6.65% improvement came on significantly higher than typical volume. Faro Technologies’ 5% jump was attributed to the company’s release of a new product called FaroZone 3D 2021 software. Move over CSI as the new software was designed to assist in the forensic analysis of crime scenes, crash sites, arson and security issues.

Cyberdyne Inc., the Japanese medical device manufacturer gave back 9.84% after having had a pretty good run that more than doubled the value of the company since September. The other Japanese decliner of note was OMRON Corp. that dropped 5.90%. 

AeroVironment slid a bit over 7% despite posting great earnings for the 3rd quarter. Revenues increased 11% YOY and, at $92.7 million were well above the $82 million in Street expectations. Likewise, earnings per share, at $.48, were also above the $.31 consensus of analysts that cover the company.

As noted in last week’s feature, 3D Systems was a leading gainer for that period with a near 22% increase. The stock benefited from an injection of capital and has performed admirably (up 61%) during November. We anticipated the probability of some pullback this week and we were not surprised with the 5.35% share drop.

2020 Bot Index vs S & P 500, 12-13-2020

What’s Going on in Bot-world?

The announcement that Tesla is moving to Austin was quickly followed by Oracle’s announcement that it too, would seek the low taxes and favorable regulatory environment provided by the Lone Star State. Since the Bot Brief and Balcones Investment Research had their genesis in Austin it is not surprising to us that the area is becoming a hotbed of Silicon Valley emigrants. Similarly, a number of Wall Street firms, including the iconic Goldman Sachs, are contemplating a move to a similar set of policies in the Sunshine State. Perhaps Austin and Miami will become the new San Jose and New York of the tech and financial worlds!

Yesterday, Hyundai announced it had committed $1.1 billion for controlling interest in Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics is best known for its robotic dancing dog whose AI can figure out how to traverse various terrains. However, the company has developed a strong reputation for advances in autonomous robotic activities which, as seems obvious, would assist in Hyundai in its race to become a self-driving vehicle producer.

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 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.