The number of robotics and automation companies has increased dramatically in recent decades as corporations seek to produce goods and services more efficiently, often replacing more expensive human employees in the process. In recent years, the urgency to automate in order to cut labor costs has accelerated due to intensifying global competition and other forces. Examples of companies that offer robotics solutions and products include Cognex Corp. (CGNX), Cadence Design Systems Inc. (CDNS), and U.K.-based Blue Prism Group PLC (PRSM).
Robot and automation stocks, as represented by the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO), have underperformed the broader market. The ETF has provided investors with a total return of 8.9% over the past 12 months, below the 24.4% total return of the Russell 1000 index. These market performance numbers and the statistics in the tables below are as of Jan. 6, 2022.
Here are the top 3 robotics stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.
These are the robotics stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.
- iRobot Corp.: iRobot is a global consumer robot company. It designs and builds robots for use inside and outside the home. One of its main products is the Roomba, a robot designed to automatically vacuum floors. On Nov. 18, iRobot announced that it had acquired Aeris Cleantec AG, a Switzerland-based privately-held air purifier company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. iRobot plans to integrate Aeris’ products with its existing product line-up of home robots. The global residential air purifier market is expected to expand from $3.4 billion in 2020 to over $6.7 billion in 2027.
- Rockwell Automation Inc.: Rockwell Automation provides industrial automation and digital transformation solutions. The company offers intelligent devices for motion, safety, and sensing, as well as control and visualization software and hardware, network and security infrastructure, and similar products. In December, Rockwell announced that it had partnered with global life sciences company Cytiva to collaborate on several projects to accelerate the development and delivery of medicines and lower costs. The two will build an Automation and Digital Transformation Center in China and open multiple test centers, including in Sweden.
- Fanuc Corp.: Fanuc is a Japan-based manufacturing company that makes factory automation machinery. It offers computer numeric control systems, laser products, and robotic systems and products.
These are the top robotics stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings-per-share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of over 2,500% were excluded as outliers.
- Omnicell Inc.: Omnicell is a provider of medication management solutions and adherence tools for health systems and pharmacies. It offers medication and supply dispensing systems, pharmacy inventory management systems and related software, medication blister cards, and more. The company reported earnings results for Q3 2021, ended Sept. 30, on Nov. 2. Net income more than tripled as total revenues climbed by 38.7% year-over-year (YOY). The company attributed revenue growth to several factors: momentum in its commercial business, robust growth of the company’s cloud-based Advance Services portfolio, and recovery from the impact of COVID-19 relative to the prior-year quarter.
- Fanuc Corp.: See company description above.
- Ambarella Inc.: Ambarella develops and manufactures HD video compression and image processing semiconductors. Its products are used in a range of vision applications, such as video security, autonomous driving, driver/cabin monitoring, and other robotic applications. The company reported net income of $0.8 million for Q3 FY 2022, ended Oct. 31, as compared with a net loss for the prior-year quarter, as well as a YOY surge in revenue. Because EPS moved from negative to positive, a calculation of EPS growth is not possible.
These are the robotics stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.
|Robotics Stocks with the Most Momentum|
|Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)|
|Ambarella Inc. (AMBA)||168.54||6.2||64.2|
|Azenta Inc. (AZTA)||95.26||7.1||41.8|
|Omnicell Inc. (OMCL)||166.77||7.3||38.4|
|ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO)||N/A||N/A||8.9|
- Ambarella Inc.: See company description above.
- Azenta Inc.: Azenta is a provider of life sciences solutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. It offers cold-chain sample management solutions, genomic services, and related services for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare industries. The company also operates the Semiconductor Solutions Group business, a provider of semiconductor manufacturing automation and collaborative robotics solutions. On Dec. 1, Azenta completed a corporate name change from Brooks Automation Inc. to Azenta Inc. On the same day, shares began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the AZTA ticker. The company said that it plans to complete the sale of its semiconductor automation business in the first half of this year, after which it will become a pure play life sciences company.
- Omnicell Inc.: See company description above.
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