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Weekly Bot Brief on Robotic Research and Investment Review 12-21-2018

POSTED 12/23/2018

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, 12-21-2018

The Bot Index fell nearly double-digits during the week prior to Christmas, marking now five consecutive weeks in which the robotic stocks underperformed the broader market. The S & P 500 declined 7.05% as the Fed raised interest rates and political turmoil in Washington continued with the announced resignation of Jim Mattis, U.S. Defense Secretary over the Trump Administration’s decision to remove troops from Syria.

Twelve bot components fell by double-digits, with Cyberdyne, NIO and Oceaneering International giving up more than 20% of value. Other companies with a disastrous week in trading included Ekso Bionics (-14.63%), AeroVironment (-14.04%), IRobot (-12.64%), NVIDIA (-11.53%), 3D Systems (-11%), Lockheed Martin (-10.87%), United Technologies (-10.62%), Northrup Grumman (-10.45%) and Accuray (-10.32).

The Standards, They Keep a Changing:

Two weeks ago, the Bot Brief wrote about the parallel regarding the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, as depicted in the Simon Winchester book The Professor and the Madman, and the current data gathering required in developing artificial intelligence. Interestingly enough, two additional issues associated with measurement and standards made headlines this week. First, and probably most profound, was the adjustment of the official weight of the kilogram. The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced it was working with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures to redefine the exact weight of a kilogram. Currently, a kilogram was simply contrived in 1889 as a portion of platinum-iridium alloy of a certain dimension. Since that time the world standard of weighing has remained constant and the lump of the alloy has served as the definitive benchmark measurement of weight. The snag, however, is that the official chunk has lost approximately 50 micrograms over the past 129 years. To correct the problem, at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles last Friday, scientists adopted a quantum mechanics format called the Planck constant which is believed to remain a forever uniform standard.

Also, this week, the AIA Global Vision Standards Update published its findings and decisions from the fall meeting of the Standards Committee. Essentially, the need for vision interface standards in industrial applications is important to affect a consistent uniformity, allowing software interconnectivity. With so many robotic applications requiring vision technology, a prescribed standard will further the ability of manufacturers to create new opportunities and reduce costs for existing efforts.

The Apple/Apple Index:

Lastly, the shares of Apple continued their decline this week and the implications of the iPhone to Apple Stock ratio rose to 9.61 from the prior week’s 8.76. The following graph reflects the price movement of the stock and how many shares are necessary to purchase the latest and greatest version of the iPhone.

Apple Shares Required to Purchase Latest iPhone

Member: American Economic Association, Society of Professional Journalists, United States Press Association. Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, Robotic Industries Association.

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.

Balcones Investment Research can be reached at its website and is headquartered in Florida; with offices in Texas and North Carolina, United States

Cover photo courtesy of The Mirror, UK