Now that the robots have invaded, it’s time for a robotics ETF.
Stocks involving robotics have drawn a good deal of enthusiasm. Most investors are familiar with iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) which has gone from $7 in March of 2009 to just over $41 last July. IRBT is currently trading just under $35. The company got a boost when its Roomba floor vacuum was featured on the television series Breaking Bad.
iRobot has also been involved in developing products for the defense industry. Another company which has been focused on defense-oriented robotics is AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV).
Many investors are unfamiliar with the industrial robotics sector and which companies have been concentrating on that area. ABB, Limited (NYSEARCA:ABB) has developed a strong presence in the field.
Robots have already proven essential to the solar power industry. On November 4, SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) announced that it has acquired a company named Greenbotics, which manufactures robots which clean solar panels.
Robotic and robot-assisted medical device technology has already captured the attention of those who have invested in Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) and Mako Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO).
Exchange Traded Concepts serves as the investment advisor for an ETF based on the robotics industry, called the Robo-Stox Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (NASDAQ:ROBO) which hit the market on October 23. Here is how the Robo-Stox Global Robotics and Automation Index is described at the Robo-Stox website:
Index components are selected from a proprietary database of robotics and automation companies that derive a portion of revenues from robotics-related and/or automation-related products and/or services, as determined solely by the ROBOSTOX Index Committee.
The Index generally consists of a mix of “bellwether” stocks, securities which the Index Committee believes are indicative of the performance of Robotics and Automation Companies as a whole, and “non-bellwether” stocks, securities of companies that have a distinct segment of their business involved in robotics-related and/or automation-related products and/or services, that the Index Committee believes will drive higher revenues as such products and/or services expand.
Index components are generally weighted 40% bellwether stocks and 60% non-bellwether stocks at the time of the Index rebalance. The Index is rebalanced and additions are made quarterly. Deletions from the Index may be made at any time due to changes in business, mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, suspensions, de-listings and spin-offs, or for other reasons as determined at the sole discretion of the Index Provider.
All ROBO-STOX Global Robotics and Automation Index components must also be components of the S&P Global Broad Market Index.
Since its IPO, ROBO has been trading in the $25 range. ROBO’s 77 holdings include iRobot, Intuitive Surgical, ABB, AeroVironment, Rockwell Automation (NYSEARCA:ROK) as well as a large number of companies whose activities go beyond robotics. One such example is 3D printer manufacturer, 3D Systems (NYSEARCA:DDD).
ROBO provides investors the opportunity to invest in robotics companies which are not listed on American stock exchanges, such as Yaskawa Electric and Fanuc. In fact, ROBO’s top holding, at 3.36 percent of the ETF’s weight, is Kevence Corporation, a Japanese company which is not listed on any American exchange.
What follows is a list of ROBO’s top ten holdings:
Company Percentage of ROBO Net Assets
Kevence Corp 3.36 percent
Hiwin Technologies Corp 2.52 percent