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Coronavirus Brightens Outlook for Robotics ETFs

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Coronavirus cases have leaped to more than 1.86 million worldwide, with governments and business operators increasingly looking for ways to maintain operations along with curbing its spread. In such a scenario, robotics has emerged as one of the most effective strategies to contain the spread of the virus. We’ll tell you how.

Robots in Healthcare

COVID-19 has got healthcare professionals around the globe dealing with immense workload. Plus, it has raised possibilities of medical workers contracting the infection during service. Here, robots are being used to deliver food and medicines to COVID-19 patients under quarantine in healthcare facilities. Then there are robots those are helping clinicians to reuse thousands of N-95 masks. This is great help amid the shortage of the personal protective equipment for the front-liners.

In the Role of Cleaners

The outbreak has raised needs for sanitization in grocery stores by manifold. Grocers are in any case busy these days in restocking and hiring to handle the spurt in demand. So, some are turning to robots for the cleaning work. This is also cost-friendly to them. Brain Corp., which supplies autonomous floor-cleaner robots to grocers, saw a 13% year-over-year increase in the usage of its robots at stores in March. Not only grocery outlets, robots are disinfecting hospitals and streets too.

Presence in Retail

Walmart (WMT - Free Report) will have Brain Corp's self-driving robots in 1,860 of its more than 4,700 U.S. stores by year-end.It will also have robots that scan shelf inventory at 1,000 stores and bots at 1,700 stores by year-end, per CNN. Some robots are helping workers in restocking items. In the retail industry, "margin pressure has made automation a requirement, not a choice," according to McKinsey, as quoted on CNN.

Function as Food Deliverers

Amid lockdowns, demand for contact-less food delivery services has gone up. Here as well, robots are coming to the rescue. Postmates has deployed robots for delivering food in Los Angeles. Similarly, in Britain, self-driving Starship robots drop deliveries at doorsteps. Starship added a grocery delivery service in Washington, DC, in late March and expanded to  Irvine, Calif.and Tempe, Ariz.The autonomous delivery start-up was launched in 2014 by Skype co-founders.The company has plans to include more cities in the coming weeks.

In short, high-tech robots are being used in defense and security, logistics, inspection, maintenance, and what not. This puts the spotlight on some robotics and AI ETFs, which are likely to do well even after coronavirus.

ETFs in Focus

Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic ETF (BOTZ - Free Report)

The Indxx Global Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index invests in companies that potentially stand to benefit from increased adoption and utilization of robotics and AI. Nvidia, Keyence and Intuitive Surgical are the top three holdings. The fund charges 68 bps in fees.

ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF (ROBO - Free Report)

The underlying ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index measures the performance of companies which derive a portion of revenues and profits from robotics-related or automation-related products or services. Harmonic Drive, Daifuku Co and Keyence are the top three holdings of the fund. The fund charges 95 bps in fees.

iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (IRBO - Free Report)

The underlying NYSE FactSet Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Index is composed of equity securities of companies primarily listed in one of 43 developed or emerging market countries that are the most involved in, one of the 22 robotics and artificial intelligence-related FactSet Revere Business Industry Classification Systems. Ping An Healthcare And Technology, Kingsoft Corp and Nvidia are the top three stocks of the fund. It charges 47 bps in fees.

First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (ROBT - Free Report)

The underlying Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index is designed to track the performance of companies engaged in AI, robotics and automation. The fund charges 65 bps in fees.

Direxion Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Automation Index Bull 3X Shares (UBOT - Free Report)

The fund looks to give three times exposure to the underlying Indxx Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Thematic Index, which provides exposure to companies in developed markets that are expected to benefit from the adoption and utilization of robotics and AI. The fund’s expense ratio is 1.49% annually.

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