Q1 2023 In Evaluation: ROBO, HTEC & THNQ

The current wave of maximum climate—from “atmospheric rivers” drenching the drought-ridden west coast, to the unprecedented collection of tornadoes ripping by 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 because the 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 brought about world panic, vital deposit outflows, and a short 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 have been no exception, with good points 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 Know-how & Innovation Index (HTEC) gained +3.33%.

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That resilience begs the query: is it potential for the final decade’s playbook of development to final perpetually? Whereas the occasions of the final two weeks definitely uncovered some idiosyncratic points, in our opinion it’s troublesome to argue that the system itself faces any type of existential risk past tighter total monetary situations (which, albeit, are nothing to miss). Nonetheless, with tech driving the majority of the current rally—and know-how 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 provide 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 contributors anticipating the tip of the Fed’s hike cycle throughout the yr. On the similar time, there was a marked reversal in inventory valuations, with most of the huge losers of 2022 rising to change into 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 energy and potential development trajectory of corporations in robotics, AI, and healthcare applied sciences:



The ROBO World Robotics & Automation Index (ROBO) logged double-digit proportion good points for the second consecutive quarter, returning +17.71% and handily outperforming the 7.3% achieve for the MSCI AC World Index (ACWI)1 by greater than 10ppt throughout the quarter. The ROBO index of best-in-class robotics and automation equities around the globe was led by robust good points 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 arrival 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 comparable to manufacturing and industrial automation (17x), meals and agriculture (16x), and Japanese shares (15x). We additionally notice 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 corporations, 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 profit from each the sturdy financial restoration in China after a chaotic path out of Covid restrictions, and the dramatic depreciation within the Japanese Yen, which gives a considerable price benefit and will result in margin enlargement. 

In mixture, ROBO is buying and selling on a 26x ahead PE, in contrast with the 24x common since inception practically 10 years in the past and the 2021 excessive of 36x. In the meantime, earnings development stays robust 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 imagine this displays the energy in demand for automation. Adoption has continued to speed up throughout more and more broad swaths of the financial 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 because the begin of 2023. This brings the overall variety of takeover makes an attempt on ROBO index members to 30 since 2013, with a mean of about three per yr.

Along with the standard 1Q rebalance, March noticed three modifications to the ROBO index: Symbotic was added, and Amano and Shenzhen Inovance have been excluded. We imagine Symbotic has quickly emerged as a frontrunner in logistics and warehouse automation, due to its complete resolution for automating the processing of pallets and circumstances for retailers. In only a few years, it has amassed an infinite order backlog price over $12 billion for greater than 170 methods, primarily with Walmart5. Amano was excluded on lowered income and know-how management scores, and Shenzhen Inovance was eliminated resulting from 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 super optimism out there, and we imagine THNQ is an effective way to seize the evolution of this ecosystem. AI, in fact, reaches far past “simply” knowledge analytics. As most of the most influential know-how visionaries on this planet have opined, AI is essentially the most disruptive know-how innovation of our lifetime. Enterprises are embracing AI to make use of myriad types of information to their benefit and to combine processes throughout all traces 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 means to generate human-like textual content content material. It’s a sort 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 cause for the ChatGPT craze is that it has the power to carry pure and fascinating conversations with customers. It could possibly perceive and reply to a variety of matters and might even generate personalised responses primarily based on person enter. This makes it a great tool for duties comparable to customer support, chatbots, and even creating content material for social media or web sites. Another excuse for ChatGPT’s reputation is that it’s comparatively straightforward to make use of and requires minimal setup. Many software program builders and corporations have begun incorporating ChatGPT into their services, making it extra broadly out there and accessible to most people.

In our opinion, Nvidia is seen because the clear chief in AI, a sector that’s predicted to develop dramatically—and rapidly. In accordance with a current report[1], the worldwide AI market was valued at $119 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to increase to $1.59 trillion as quickly as 2030, leading to an estimated compound annual development charge6 (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 good points for the quarter.



The ROBO World Healthcare Know-how & Innovation Index (HTEC) gained +3.18% in 1Q, barely underperforming ACWI’s +5% achieve. Optimistic good points have 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 throughout the quarter, such because the collaboration between Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics, which builds on their focus of making cell and genetic therapies for eradicating critical ailments. A brand new licensing settlement between the 2 corporations will possible speed up the event of Vertex’s hypo-immune cell therapies for the therapy of sort 1 diabetes. Cell and genetic therapies are key to their technique of growing transformative therapies for critical ailments, and this settlement is a vital 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 constructive 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 sorts, 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 value7 (ASP) is estimated to be $2.5K–$3.5K, and there are tens of hundreds of eligible sufferers yearly, which might see $30 million accretive this yr—a potential 3–5% increase to the topline this yr alone relying on adoption pace. The consequence: 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 is no such thing as a cause to anticipate calmer waters out there within the months and years to come back. The tendency for traders to react to crises of all types is unlikely to waver. On the similar time, we imagine it’s clear that know-how is including worth to almost the whole lot it touches, and when corporations ship applied sciences that drive worth, traders might in the end reap rewards. No matter how the financial system, the Fed, or the “disaster of the second” impacts the markets within the quick time period, look ahead to know-how—together with robotics, automation, and healthcare applied sciences—to behave probably because the predictable buoy that lifts portfolios larger and better.



[1] Synthetic Intelligence (AI) Market Measurement, Development, 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 symbolize efficiency of the total 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 value-to-earnings (P/E) ratio relates an organization’s share value to its earnings per share.

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

5 Supply: Symbotic

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

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

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