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The Bot Brief

POSTED 09/04/2022

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

- Victor Hugo


Bots In the NewsBot Index vs. S & P 500

With only four of the Bot Index components providing a positive contribution to the Index last week, it was clear the technology sector of the economy was out of favor with investors. Actually, none of the four gainers out of the thirty stock Index rose more that 65 basis points. Consequently, the Bot Index fell over five and a quarter percent, significantly worse than the 3.29% retreat by the S & P 500.

There were four companies whose declines were double digit or near by the end of the disastrous week. The worst performer was recorded by NVIDIA Corp. who slid over 16%. The stock has declined for four consecutive weeks, giving up $50 in value per share. The entire chip industry has been under a cloud as demand has fallen and the U.S. government has imposed some sanctions on Chinese purchases. Investors of the sophisticated chips are concerned that their products could face farther weakness due to the current political issues.

AeroVironment was the second worst performer in the Index with its decline of 14.63%. There was no real news to account for the decline which fell on significantly higher than normal volume.

The sum of NIO’s gains (4.57%) in the prior week were removed as the Chinese EV maker fell 11%. The Wall Street firm – MarketWatch produced a report entitled, “NIO, other China-based EV maker stocks fall after August deliveries reports”. Supply chain issues and weakness within the Chinese economy were cited as contributors to less than expected shipments.

Azenta shareholders have been disappointed for the last four weeks. The company has declined from $70 to the current price of $50.81. Clearly, the name change from Brooks to Azenta did nothing to endear itself to the investment community.


2020's Decade of Bot Index PerformanceManganese Again:

Last week we ran a follow-up on prior discussions regarding the utilization of manganese as a substitute for other transition metals for the cathode of some lithium-ion batteries. Interestingly, we read this week from Emerging Tech Brew, that also identified manganese as a potential alternative for cobalt or nickel. While mining for cobalt and nickel are constraining capacity for battery production, manganese is more readily available. Currently, 90% of manganese is used with iron and the stainless-steel industry, however, to produce the necessarily high-grade manganese sulfate powder for EV batteries requires highly technically advanced production facilities. While manganese is currently only used by Nissan Leaf, it appears that Tesla and Volkswagen are testing the material as an alternative.

Our friend and mentor – Bob Stearns - just returned from summering in Newport RI and brought us a four pack of Save the Robots Beer that is produced up there. In addition to the brews, he was able to secure (We didn’t ask questions!) a shirt from the same brewery. Next interview for the Bot Brief, I will be donning this new fashion statement! Thanks Bob!!



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.