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The Bot Brief

POSTED 03/06/2022

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

Bots In the News:Bot Index vx. S & P 500

With three Bot Index component stocks within the Index experiencing double digit performance and two that experienced double digit declines for the week, the combination allowed the Bot Index to exceed the performance of the S & P 500. While the broad market fell 1.27%, the Bot Index was essentially flat in last week’s trading. As in the prior week, the bots were paced by three defense companies as the war in Ukraine (and fears of any ‘spillover’ conflict) continued to dominate the international headlines. AeroVironment, the drone manufacturer led the charge with a 19.22% upswing. Not only did the conflict stimulate its investors, but the company’s January quarter end also noted a revenue gain over the year-over-year quarter from $78.75 million to $90.09, a 14.4% gain. That allowed earnings to increase dramatically from 14 cents per share to $.32. Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin rose 14.38% and 11.88% respectively.

Oceaneering International rode the wave of rising oil prices and gained 7.28% for the week and Teledyne Technologies rose five percent as the Wall Street firm included the company in its headline report – 3 Defense Stocks to Consider as Geopolitical Tensions Rise.

3D Systems continued its volatility, leading the week’s losers with a 16.23% downslide. Another casualty of the international conflict was NIO Inc. whose 11.03% drop was attributed to its potential delisting (it is based in China) and supply chain (chips) restraints. The company has seen its shares decline from $32.48 to $18.65 since the beginning of the year.

2020's Decade of Bot PerformanceBots in the Warehouse:

In recent news, DHL North America plans to add hundreds of robots to its workforce to offset the lack of available human fulfillment employees. A $15 million investment and multi-year agreement between DHL North America and Boston Dynamics will begin with roughly 30 Stretch robots.

The robot, called Stretch, was developed by Boston Dynamics for warehouse operations in direct response to labor shortages and increasing coordination volume. In the January 2022 issue of the IEEE Spectrum, the cover story, Top Tech 2022 featured BD’s Stretch robot which could load trucks at 800 boxes per hour. The article noted that its design is something of a departure from the norm in that it has a single arm with sensors and suction cups. As a former college student UPS worker, this author spent early mornings unloading 18 wheelers for four hours (union rules) and can attest to the danger, dirty and demeaning nature of that feature of employment at UPS.

In another feature in the Spectrum, Flying Pallets Without Pilots, a London and Sofia firm Dronamics, is undergoing trials, also with DHL, to fly strategic parts to company controlled ‘drone-ports’. The range is 2,500 km and can carry a payload of up to 350 kg. It is expected to have considerable EU support and will have enormous applications for quick, reliable and cost-effective solutions to the current supply chain conundrum.

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.