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HomeRoboticsQ1 2023 In Evaluation: ROBO, HTEC & THNQ

Q1 2023 In Evaluation: ROBO, HTEC & THNQ

The latest wave of utmost climate—from “atmospheric rivers” drenching the drought-ridden west coast, to the unprecedented sequence of tornadoes ripping via the Midwest—are an ideal parallel to what traders skilled in March. Although “turbulent” has been an ideal descriptor for the dramatic turns out there ever for the reason that Fed first started boosting rates of interest a yr in the past, issues got here to a bona fide boiling level final month, pushed largely by the three financial institution closures that induced world panic, vital deposit outflows, and a quick however sharp downturn as a seeming disaster of confidence gripped world markets. And but, regardless of the March Insanity, the primary quarter formed as much as be a winner. The ROBO World Indexes had been no exception, with positive aspects posted throughout the board. The ROBO World Synthetic Intelligence Index (THNQ) jumped +22.8%, the ROBO World Robotics & Automation Index (ROBO) returned +17.71%, and the ROBO World Healthcare Expertise & Innovation Index (HTEC) gained +3.33%.

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That resilience begs the query: is it doable for the final decade’s playbook of development to final ceaselessly? Whereas the occasions of the final two weeks definitely uncovered some idiosyncratic points, in our opinion it’s tough to argue that the system itself faces any form of existential risk past tighter general monetary situations (which, albeit, are nothing to miss). Nonetheless, with tech driving the majority of the latest rally—and expertise seemingly having nowhere to go however up—what’s to cease continued, fast development when the Fed’s tried-and-true strategies can’t appear to dampen investor enthusiasm? A better take a look at what came about this quarter might supply some clues.

1Q was all about imply reversion from the 2022 dynamics as rate of interest expectations violently declined. Cracks within the banking system, easing inflation, and indicators of some slowdown in US consumption have market individuals anticipating the top of the Fed’s hike cycle throughout the yr. On the similar time, there was a marked reversal in inventory valuations, with lots of the huge losers of 2022 rising to turn out to be huge winners in 1Q. And whereas development shares recovered their market management place (pushed by mega-cap tech, unprofitable tech, and costly software program shares), small caps, healthcare, and defensive shares underperformed. Within the US, mega-cap tech shares returned a whopping +31%, with the remainder of the S&P returning simply +2%.

Diving deeper into the ROBO World Indexes, 1Q demonstrated the power and potential development trajectory of firms in robotics, AI, and healthcare applied sciences:



The ROBO World Robotics & Automation Index (ROBO) logged double-digit share positive aspects for the second consecutive quarter, returning +17.71% and handily outperforming the 7.3% acquire for the MSCI AC World Index (ACWI)1 by greater than 10ppt through the quarter. The ROBO index of best-in-class robotics and automation equities world wide was led by sturdy positive aspects in Computing & AI (+25%), Actuation (+22%), and Logistics Automation (+18%), whereas European (+12%) and Healthcare (+4%) shares lagged.


AI and semiconductor shares delivered the strongest efficiency in Q1, with iFlyTek (+95%), Nvidia (+90%), World Unichip (+71%), and Samsara (+59%) topping the charts. The appearance of generative AI fashions, the ChatGPT craze, and the increase in eye-opening purposes have definitely led to renewed optimism across the group, with valuations reaching astonishing ranges as soon as once more. For instance, Nvidia is now buying and selling on 60x ahead PE2 and 25x gross sales, not too far off its 2021 excessive of 70x PE3.

The excellent news is that different areas of the portfolio stay comparatively low-cost in comparison with the areas of the portfolio mentioned above, particularly cyclical shares in industrial end-markets corresponding to manufacturing and industrial automation (17x), meals and agriculture (16x), and Japanese shares (15x). We additionally word that non-US shares, which account for 56% of the ROBO portfolio, are buying and selling at a considerable low cost (18x) in comparison with US shares (36x). That is very true in Japan. Japanese firms, which account for 22% of the ROBO index and have a mixed 40% share of the world’s industrial robotic market, are, in our opinion, poised to learn from each the strong financial restoration in China after a chaotic path out of Covid restrictions, and the dramatic depreciation within the Japanese Yen, which supplies a considerable price benefit and may result in margin growth. 

In mixture, ROBO is buying and selling on a 26x ahead PE, in contrast with the 24x common since inception almost 10 years in the past and the 2021 excessive of 36x. In the meantime, earnings development stays sturdy relative to broad fairness indices, with expectations for a ten% earnings per share4 (EPS) enhance in 2023 (much like what we noticed in 2022), with 8% gross sales development in step with the long-term common. We consider this displays the power in demand for automation. Adoption has continued to speed up throughout more and more broad swaths of the economic system.

Regardless of the fast enhance in the price of capital, M&A exercise is strong within the Robotics & Automation area, with two index members, Stratasys and Nationwide Devices, receiving takeover bids for the reason that begin of 2023. This brings the whole variety of takeover makes an attempt on ROBO index members to 30 since 2013, with a median of about three per yr.

Along with the same old 1Q rebalance, March noticed three adjustments to the ROBO index: Symbotic was added, and Amano and Shenzhen Inovance had been excluded. We consider Symbotic has quickly emerged as a pacesetter in logistics and warehouse automation, due to its complete resolution for automating the processing of pallets and circumstances for retailers. In just some years, it has amassed an infinite order backlog value over $12 billion for greater than 170 programs, primarily with Walmart5. Amano was excluded on decreased income and expertise management scores, and Shenzhen Inovance was eliminated as a consequence of a rise in international possession. Shenzhen Inovance has returned a complete 279% since its inclusion within the ROBO index in 2019.



The ROBO World Synthetic Intelligence Index (THNQ) gained 22.8% in 1Q, far outperforming ACWI (+5%). The advances of ChatGPT have created large optimism out there, and we consider THNQ is an effective way to seize the evolution of this ecosystem. AI, after all, reaches far past “simply” knowledge analytics. As lots of the most influential expertise visionaries on the planet have opined, AI is probably the most disruptive expertise innovation of our lifetime. Enterprises are embracing AI to make use of myriad kinds of information to their benefit and to combine processes throughout all strains of enterprise and industries. The record of purposes is as spectacular as it’s huge. 


ChatGPT, a member of the generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) household of language fashions, has gained reputation in recent times for its potential to generate human-like textual content content material. It’s a kind of synthetic intelligence (AI) that makes use of machine studying algorithms to research massive quantities of textual content knowledge and generate responses in a conversational method. One purpose for the ChatGPT craze is that it has the flexibility to carry pure and interesting conversations with customers. It might probably perceive and reply to a variety of matters and may even generate customized responses based mostly on person enter. This makes it a great tool for duties corresponding to customer support, chatbots, and even creating content material for social media or web sites. One more reason for ChatGPT’s reputation is that it’s comparatively simple to make use of and requires minimal setup. Many software program builders and firms have begun incorporating ChatGPT into their services and products, making it extra broadly accessible and accessible to most of the people.

In our opinion, Nvidia is seen because the clear chief in AI, a sector that’s predicted to develop dramatically—and shortly. Based on a latest report[1], the worldwide AI market was valued at $119 billion in 2022 and is predicted to increase to $1.59 trillion as quickly as 2030, leading to an estimated compound annual development fee6 (CAGR) of 38% between 2022 and 2030. The drivers of that development stretch throughout the huge panorama of AI purposes, together with healthcare, finance, retail, automotive, and extra. In a world the place AI purposes are a digital “goldmine,” as a number one AI chip supplier, NVDA is delivering the shovels required to dig for fortunes. NVDA’s AI merchandise embrace a full line of {hardware} and software program, starting from NVIDIA GPU Cloud (concentrating on cloud purposes) to NVIDIA Jetson (concentrating on autonomous machines), to NVIDIA TensorRT (concentrating on high-performance deep studying). The corporate posted over +90% development in 1Q, serving to to push the THNQ index to its personal double-digit positive aspects for the quarter.



The ROBO World Healthcare Expertise & Innovation Index (HTEC) gained +3.18% in 1Q, barely underperforming ACWI’s +5% acquire. Optimistic positive aspects had been pushed by Knowledge Analytics (+12%), however this was offset by different sectors, together with Regenerative Drugs (-17%) and Precision Drugs (-13%). Importantly, we continued to see main innovation milestones through the quarter, such because the collaboration between Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics, which builds on their focus of making cell and genetic therapies for eradicating severe ailments. A brand new licensing settlement between the 2 firms will seemingly speed up the event of Vertex’s hypo-immune cell therapies for the remedy of kind 1 diabetes. Cell and genetic therapies are key to their technique of creating transformative therapies for severe ailments, and this settlement is a crucial subsequent step in cementing their management in these modalities as they carry ahead their broad gene and cell-based therapeutics portfolio. 


Moreover, Natera introduced extra optimistic information lower than 6 months after its VA protection settlement for minimal residual illness monitoring (MRD). A brand new molecular diagnostics providers program (MolDX) will now cowl the Signatera molecular MRD for sufferers with IIb or extra superior breast most cancers, together with the HR-positive, HER2, and triple-negative varieties, including to their present colorectal, bladder, and pan-cancer monitoring. The announcement instantly elevated the highest and backside line for 2023 and past, as the typical promoting worth7 (ASP) is estimated to be $2.5K–$3.5K, and there are tens of 1000’s of eligible sufferers yearly, which might see $30 million accretive this yr—a doable 3–5% increase to the topline this yr alone relying on adoption velocity. The end result: the inventory jumped 17% on the day of the announcement.

Simply because the dramatic climate patterns are anticipated to proceed throughout the US and across the globe, there isn’t a purpose to anticipate calmer waters out there within the months and years to come back. The tendency for traders to react to crises of every kind is unlikely to waver. On the similar time, we consider it’s clear that expertise is including worth to almost every little thing it touches, and when firms ship applied sciences that drive worth, traders might finally reap rewards. No matter how the economic system, the Fed, or the “disaster of the second” impacts the markets within the quick time period, look ahead to expertise—together with robotics, automation, and healthcare applied sciences—to behave probably because the predictable buoy that lifts portfolios increased and better.



[1] Synthetic Intelligence (AI) Market Measurement, Progress, Report 2022-2030, Priority Analysis, January 2023


Sources & Definitions:

1 MSCI AC World Index is MSCI’s flagship world fairness index, and is designed to signify efficiency of the complete alternative set of large- and mid-cap shares throughout 23 developed and 24 rising markets.

2 The ahead P/E estimates the relative worth of the earnings.

3 The worth-to-earnings (P/E) ratio relates an organization’s share worth to its earnings per share.

4 Earnings per share (EPS) is an organization’s internet revenue divided by the variety of frequent shares it has excellent.

5 Supply: Symbotic

6 The compound annual development fee (CAGR) is the speed of return (RoR) that might be required for an funding to develop from its starting steadiness to its ending steadiness, assuming the earnings had been reinvested on the finish of every interval of the funding’s life span.

7 The time period “common promoting worth” (ASP) refers back to the common worth a great or service is offered for.



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