Robotics stocks are one of the most interesting growth categories in the market. With scientific innovation and technology continually emerging, companies are harnessing the power and ease of automation.
In the workforce, employee wages have soared since the onset of the pandemic. Strikes are increasing causing labor force instability. This makes it increasingly attractive for firms to invest in robotics and automation as a potential option to improve operational efficiency.
From the factory and warehouse floor to areas such as kiosk ordering and AI-powered robotics and software solutions, the thirst for these technologies is growing. And these three robotics stocks are set to cash in.
Murata Manufacturing (MRAAY)
Murata Manufacturing (OTCMKTS:MRAAY) is a diversified Japanese electronics firm. While the company may not be a household name, it has a large presence. In fact, its 5.5 trillion Japanese Yen market cap equates to more than a $36 billion valuation in dollar terms.
Specifically, Murata is known for its Murata Boy and Murata Girl robots, which can ride a bicycle and a unicycle, respectively. These robots are built using a host of Murata components including cameras, gyro sensors, velocity control, infrared and ultrasonic sensors and built-in wifi and bluetooth support.
While bicycle-riding robots are probably not a significant revenue producer by themselves, it shows the capabilities of Murata’s electronics for an array of other robotic products and autonomous technologies. Murata plays heavily into smartphones, smart vehicles, and batteries among other key end markets.
MRAAY stock has only rallied about 10% over the past five years. Recently, traders have fretted about the ongoing slowdown in the smartphone market. The sell-off and a reasonable starting valuation make Murata an attractive way to play the robotics market.
Columbus McKinnon (CMCO)
It’s true that anthropomorphic robots probably steal the spotlight as investors think about robotics stocks. However, much of the opportunity lies within more nuts-and-bolts solutions.
An example is Columbus McKinnon (NASDAQ:CMCO), a smaller company with a strong focus on factory automation and logistics. Simply put, CMCO makes the mechanical devices that make automation and smart factories and warehouses possible.
The company has several main product categories including automation, conveyor belts and pallet systems, and lifting and hoist solutions. These combine to allow firms to hire fewer human employees for factories and warehouses and replace much of that backbreaking work with automated systems.
Columbus McKinnon and other rivals have enjoyed e-commerce companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) spending lavish sums on new heavily-automated warehouses. But with the slip in e-commerce CAPEX spending lately, Columbus McKinnon is experiencing a demand downturn.
However, the long-term outlook for automation remains bright. That’s especially true as the company expands its solutions into more value-add niches such as healthcare and pharmaceutical logistics. Despite rising profits, CMCO stock has seen merely flat performance over the past five years, leaving shares at 12 times forward earnings today.
Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) is a mid-sized industrial company with multiple shots on goal involving automation and robotics.
Like Columbus McKinnon, Cognex provides logistics for smart factories and warehouses. Also, it has among the world’s best fixed-mount barcode readers. These enable consumers to automatically pay for items without the help of cashiers.
Additionally, Cognex is a leader in machine vision, which allows computers and robots to perceive real-world objects. In August, CGNX announced the future acquisition of Japanese machine vision optics firm Moritex for about $275 million. The largest deal in Cognex’s history, it builds on top of the firm’s prior purchase of Sirius Advanced Cybernetics.
In conclusion, CGNX is assembling an entire lineup of logistics, automation, and robotics solutions. And with more than 20% decline in CGNX stock in recent months, investors are getting a favorable buy-the-dip entry point today.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in CMCO and MRAAY stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.