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Robots and AI: A powerful combination (Leonteq Securities AG, 28.03.2024)
Running, table tennis, boxing and games of skill – the list of contests pitting humans against machines is getting ever longer. Not long ago a two-legged robot of the Chinese company Unitree set a new record among humanoids with a speed of about 3.3 m/s. True, that’s not a patch on how fast a human can go, but the rate of development is startling, given that “H1” only managed 1.5 m/s in December

Learning through play

 

Running, table tennis, boxing and games of skill – the list of contests pitting humans against machines is getting ever longer. Not long ago a two-legged robot of the Chinese company Unitree set a new record among humanoids with a speed of about 3.3 m/s. True, that’s not a patch on how fast a human can go, but the rate of development is startling, given that “H1” only managed 1.5 m/s in December. Meanwhile, scientists at ETH Zurich have developed “CyberRunner”, a robot that can solve a marble maze game using artificial intelligence (AI). After a couple of hours of training, at the end of last year it was able to beat an “extremely capable human player” by 6% with 55 control instructions. All this “fun and games”, though, has a serious point: whether in industry, healthcare or the home, robots are set to not only assist humans, but in some cases also replace them over the next few years.

 

Billion-dollar market ...

A glance at the growth in robots reveals that the aforementioned “reorganisation of society” is proceeding at pace. According to the World Robotics Report, a total of 553,052 new industrial robots were installed across the world in 2022 – equivalent to a growth rate of 5% year on year. Broken down by region, almost three quarters of the new humanoids came onto the market in Asia, with Europe accounting for a 15% share of the market and everywhere else one tenth. This growth will continue, with the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) predicting that the number of industrial robots installed annually will climb to 718,000 by 2026. China is among those putting its foot especially hard on the gas: at the end of 2023, Beijing presented a plan under which humanoid robots will have reached such a stage of maturity by 2025 that they can go into mass production.

 

… with dynamic growth

The electronic assistants in healthcare are likewise very much in demand. Market researcher Apollo Research Reports puts the market value of medical robots in 2022 at around USDbn 18.1 and anticipates that it will rise by an average 16.6% a year to reach USDbn 83.1 by 2032. While doctors use four-armed surgical machines to guide scalpels around patients with millimetre precision and thus achieve better clinical results, AI can also be used to develop drugs faster and make more accurate diagnoses. The experts of US bank Morgan Stanley reckon that the use of AI in this sector could play a key role in accelerating research and development and lead to an additional 50 new treatments in the next ten years with a sales potential of more than 50.

 

Industry 4.0 as the driving force

While robots may be finding their way into many areas of life throughout the world, and even private homes, the great majority of humanoids will continue to be deployed in traditional industry, such as car manufacturing. As automation progresses further, however, it is not only robots – think Robot Process Automation (RPA) – that are set to take on an important role: AI comes into play here too, because artificial intelligence enables companies to manage complex tasks that would require actual human intelligence. Whether the smart factory, data analysis or customer interaction, these clever systems are increasingly becoming a vital tool in the modern business world. Connecting RPA and AI allows the two transformative technologies to be combined, unleashing even greater potential. Driven by AI, machine learning and the cloud, the experts at Fortune Business Insights expect the global market for robot-assisted process automation to jump from USDbn 13.9 2023 to USDbn 50.5 in 2030. This is equivalent to an annual growth rate of 20.3%.

Source: IFR

 

 

 

Digitalisation as the recipe for success:

 

Swissquote Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Index combines two mega-trends

 

Acquisitions and innovations

Many companies are looking to share in the paradigm shift brought about in the technology world by AI and robotics. Among them is Amazon, for instance. The online giant first put its faith in robot technology with the purchase of Kiva Systems back in 2012. Amazon, however, would like not only to automate its own business, but also provide its customers with digital assistants. To that end the group recently sought to acquire robot vacuum cleaner manufacturer iRobot, but could not get over the regulatory hurdles. It remains to be seen which target Amazon will look to acquire next in this segment. ABB, the world’s second largest manufacturer of industrial robots, has already found a candidate: a few weeks ago the group acquired AI firm Sevensense with a view to equipping its entire mobile robot fleet with artificial intelligence in order to drive future growth. In the medical robot sector, Intuitive Surgical is currently the focus of attention. Recently the company submitted an application to the US health authorities, the FDA, for approval for the next generation of its world-famous “da Vinci” robot system. The four-armed surgical machine is said to have “hundreds” of design changes and 10,000 times the computing power.

 

Booming chip market

Robot manufacturers are not the only ones profiting from the digital mega-trends, though, with suppliers, too – particularly in the chip sector – enjoying a boom in business. A prime example of this is Nvidia, the US semiconductor group, which in February reached a market capitalisation of more than USDtn 2 for the first time. Nvidia is regarded as a major beneficiary in the AI sector for good reason: with its high-performance chips, the Californian company controls around 80% of the global market. Its customer base includes well-known names such as Microsoft, Meta Platforms and even ChatGPT developer OpenAI. One competitor that Nvidia needs to take seriously is AMD. At the turn of the year the group positioned itself in the race for the USD 400bn AI chip market with the launch of new products. According to the company’s press release, the processors are “the most advanced AI accelerators in the industry”. The MI300X alone is expected to bring in revenue of USDbn 0.5 by the middle of the year. Over the year as a whole, sales of AI special chips are set to exceed the USDbn 2 mark by some distance.

 

Considerable track record

The booming prospects for robots and artificial intelligence have led to a sharp rise in the share prices of many protagonists in the industries. Over the last year ABB’s share has climbed 37% in value, that of Intuitive Surgical by almost two thirds, while AMD and Nvidia stock has more than doubled and tripled respectively. The positive trend is also clearly reflected in the Swissquote Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Index, the broadly diversified benchmark having appreciated by rather more than a fifth over the last twelve months. The index includes a total of 30 companies – including the stocks mentioned in this text – from the promising sectors. In terms of region, companies from the USA lead the way. At the moment the total 23 stocks from elsewhere make up 64% of the barometer’s price movement. The absolute index heavyweight, however, is the Japanese Obic, which accounts for a 6% share. There are another 3 stocks from the Far East in the selection alongside the software group, including Fanuc, the world’s largest robot manufacturer. In August 2023 the company passed the record mark of 1 million industrial robots delivered in total.

 

Three letters for success: AMC

In May 2019 Leonteq issued an actively managed certificate (AMC) on the Swissquote Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Index. This actively managed tracker enables investors to participate 1:1 in Swissquote Bank’s carefully designed barometer. The professionally managed portfolio only includes stocks that meet strictly regulated qualitative and quantitative requirements. Despite this complex process, the annual management fee is a modest 0.7%. In return, holders of the certificate get a certificate that offers a convincing combination of transparency and liquidity alongside a 30-member-strong index. The certificate allows skilful participation in the next quantum leap forward in technological development.

 

 

Tracker on the Swissquote Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Index (1 year)

 

 

 

Legal Disclaimer

 

This document constitutes Advertising within the meaning of article 68 of the FinSA.

 

This publication serves only for information purposes and is not research; it constitutes neither a recommendation for the purchase of financial instruments nor an offer or an invitation for an offer. No responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. Investors bear the full credit risk of the issuer / [guarantor] for products which are not issued as COSI® products. Before investing in derivative instruments, investors are highly recommended to ask their financial advisor for advice specifically focused on the investor´s financial situation; the information contained in this document does not substitute such advice.

 

This publication does not constitute a simplified prospectus pursuant to art. 5 CISA, or a listing prospectus pursuant to art. 652a or 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations. The relevant product documentation can be obtained directly at Leonteq Securities AG via telephone +41 (0)58 800 1111, fax +41 (0)58 800 1010, or via email termsheet@leonteq.com.

 

Selling restrictions apply for the EEA, Hong Kong, Singapore,the USA, US persons, and the United Kingdom (the issuance is subject to Swiss law).

 

The Underlying’s performance in the past does not constitute a guarantee for their future performance. The financial products' value is subject to market fluctuation, which can lead to a partial or total loss of the invested capital. The purchase of the financial products triggers costs and fees. Leonteq Securities AG and/or another related company may operate as market maker for the financial products, may trade as principal, and may conclude hedging transactions. Such activity may influence the market price, the price movement, or the liquidity of the financial products.

 

Insofar as this publication contains information relating to a Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Product (PRIIP), a Key Information Document in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (PRIIPs Regulation) is available at https://www.priipkidportal.com/

 

Any - including only partial - reproduction of any article or picture is solely permitted based on an authorization from Leonteq Securities AG. No responsibility is assumed in case of unsolicited delivery.

 

© Leonteq Securities AG 2023. All rights reserved.

 

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Investing in digital fortresses - cybersecurity with a safety net  (Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd., 04.03.2024)
As our personal and business lives become increasingly digital, the threat of cyberattacks is growing significantly. It is therefore more important than ever to have adequate cybersecurity measures in place. After a strong outperformance in the second half of 2023, the cybersecurity theme is now discounting a strong recovery in spending, and valuations appear high.

Generally, we believe that the structural factors driving demand for cybersecurity remain as healthy as ever. And with cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated by the day, cybersecurity remains a dominant topic across global information technology departments. Admittedly, the valuations of many cybersecurity stocks have risen and now look expensive. At the same time, factors such as the elongated sales cycles, increased spending scrutiny, and longer payment terms are not adequately reflected in stock prices.

 

Against this backdrop, investors could consider a capital-protected solution on the Julius Baer Next Generation Cybersecurity Index, which is currently in subscription. The product offers a minimum redemption amount at maturity as well as a high degree of upside participation up to the barrier of 132%.

 

For further information about this product, click here.

 

 

IMPRINT

This content constitutes marketing material and is not the result of independent financial/investment research. It has been produced by Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd., Zurich, which is authorised and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

 

This content is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute advice, an offer or an invitation by, or on behalf of, Julius Baer to buy or sell any securities, securities-based derivatives or other products or to participate in any particular trading strategy in any jurisdiction.

 

Julius Baer does not accept liability for any loss arising from the use of this document.

 

This content may include figures relating to simulated past performance. Past performance, simulations and performance forecasts are not reliable indicators of future results.

 

For further details about risks and suitability, as well as important legal information, please consult the following link: IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION

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USD INTEREST RATES: PLENTY OF MOVEMENT AT THE LONG END (Leonteq Securities AG, 01.12.2023)
Fed takes a break Has the cycle of interest rate hikes in the USA come to an end? This is the subject of intense debate among investors, analysts and economists as we approach the home straight of the 2023 stock market year. To combat high inflation, the US central bank has jacked up its target rate from almost zero in early 2022 to 5.25% to 5.50% now. At the last two meetings in September and the start of November, though, the Open Market Committee stayed its hand.

Fed takes a break

Has the cycle of interest rate hikes in the USA come to an end? This is the subject of intense debate among investors, analysts and economists as we approach the home straight of the 2023 stock market year. To combat high inflation, the US central bank has jacked up its target rate from almost zero in early 2022 to 5.25% to 5.50% now. At the last two meetings in September and the start of November, though, the Open Market Committee stayed its hand. Nevertheless, Fed chairman Jerome Powell does not want to set any end date for the squeeze on monetary policy, let alone talk about rate cuts. Indeed, he continues to direct his focus on forcing inflation down to the stated 2% target. “We are not confident that we have achieved such a stance,” Powell said following the latest decision on interest rates. At the same time, he pointed out that the US economy had an astonishingly strong constitution.

 

Sharp rise in yields

The markets may be doing at least some of the Fed's work for it. “The financing conditions have tightened considerably over the last few months,” Powell noted. This development had been driven in the main by longer-dated bonds. In fact, there has been a lot of movement at the far end of the yield curve recently, with the yield on the 30-year US Treasury climbing above the 5% mark in mid-October (see graph), a level last seen in the summer of 2007. The interest rate for the long-term bond has risen by around 80 basis points since the end of 2022, while that for the 20-year version has jumped higher still. Pimco does not see the latest movement as having been driven primarily by concerns over inflation or other rate hikes by the Fed. Rather, the fixed-income manager cites the diminishing fears of recession as the central cause.

 

Fixed-income giant with a clear opinion

“Steepening of the yield curve creates a compelling opportunity for investors in money markets to consider adding longer-duration assets, in our view,” write the Pimco experts in a blog post. At the moment starting yields were high relative both to history and to other asset classes on a risk-adjusted basis. This could create a “yield cushion” amid a still highly uncertain outlook. “In addition, bonds have the potential to earn capital gains and diversify portfolios,” the authors reckon. Pimco otherwise shares the Fed's assessment that the financial conditions have already tightened. This would make new debt more expensive and thereby possibly slow down economic activity, which could in turn lead to a loosening of monetary policy.

 

A time for silence

We are not quite that far yet. What is certain, though, is that Jerome Powell will soon fall silent. On 2 December the “blackout period” ahead of the Open Market Committee meeting starting ten days later will begin. During this time high-ranking representatives of the US central bank refrain from passing comment on the economy, monetary policy and interest rates. The markets are in any case pretty unanimous that there will be no increases in rates either on 13 December or in the following months. According to the CME FedWatchTool, it is even possible that there will be a first cut in the target rate in June 2024 (see graph). In that regard the tool, which is based on the conditions on the futures markets, chimes with Pimco’s view. Should interest rates actually start trending downwards next year, now may well be the right time to build up a position in longer-term US government bonds, which have been badly hit recently.

 

Yield on 30-year US Treasuries (in %)

Source: FRED Economic Data (St. Louis Fed); as at 13.11.2023

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

 

Expectations for US interest rates (Fed target rate probabilities, each in %)

Source: CME FedWatch Tool (CME Group); as at: 31.11.2023
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

 

 

New fixed-income investment: Outperformance certificate on the iShares $ Treasury Bond 20+yr ETF

 

US government bonds under pressure

In terms of prices, there was not much to be gained in the fixed-income asset class in 2023, with quotations softening across a broad front. Given monetary policy, this weakness is generally unsurprising: the majority of central banks have been raising interest rates vigorously to ward off the spectre of inflation. Furthermore, bond markets have recently also been generating some momentum of their own. This is particularly true for the USA, because it is known that the Fed suspended the series of interest rate hikes in September. Despite the pause, however, yields continued to rise while US government bonds declined sharply. That also and especially applied for the longer terms. This thesis can be illustrated by the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index: from 20 September, the date of the Fed meeting, this benchmark lost more than a tenth of its value within the space of a month.

 

Possible turnaround in interest rates

It is possible that even the US monetary authorities were not entirely comfortable with the rise in yields associated with this price trend. At any rate, a rumour that the Fed could intervene in the market for US government bonds has since done the rounds. What is certain is that prices have recovered somewhat, with the ICE U.S. Treasury 20+ Year Bond Index climbing by up to 8% from its recent low. One reason for the rebound could be the strengthening consensus on a possible turnaround in interest rates next year. Futures markets are now pricing in a reduction of 75 basis points in the Fed target rate for 2024. This expectation naturally depends first and foremost on the further course of inflation and the general economic climate. Another factor is the national budget: the parties in Washington D.C. have until 17 November to amend the “stopgap bill”. If the House of Representatives and the Senate are unable to agree on interim financing, a shutdown looms. Government coming to a halt, and the unforeseeable consequences for the world's largest economy, could in turn undermine the scenario of falling interest rates.

 

Bond ETF as an underlying

Leonteq has launched an interesting new issue for investors who are thinking about taking a position in US government bonds in light of this background: the outperformance certificate on the iShares $ Treasury Bond 20+yr UCITS ETF. The underlying of this structured product is an exchange traded fund (ETF) on the bond index already mentioned. This currently contains 40 US government bonds with a duration of 20 years or more. A good half of the fund portfolio is allocated to US Treasuries due in 2050 or later. iShares launched this ETF at the start of 2015. The assets under management now amount to USDbn 7.42. The new outperformance certificate offers the prospect of participating disproportionately in rising quotations for the underlying.

 

Opportunity for outperformance

The certificate has a two-year term. Should the countermovement of the longer-dated Treasuries prove to be sustainable, the structured product would share in this with an outperformance rate of 140%. Assuming that the underlying appreciates by a fifth over a 24-month period, the certificate would repay 128% of the denomination. Please note that the participation does not kick in fully until the maturity date. Other factors will have an effect on the pricing during the term, including and especially how interest rates in the USA develop. There is no partial or capital protection, so the structured product would participate fully in any downward movement of the ETF. To conclude, the new outperformance certificate offers a good opportunity to take a punt on the interest rate turnaround in the USA and rising prices for long-dated Treasuries with diversification and leverage.

 

 

 

Legal Disclaimer

 

This document constitutes Advertising within the meaning of article 68 of the FinSA.

 

This publication serves only for information purposes and is not research; it constitutes neither a recommendation for the purchase of financial instruments nor an offer or an invitation for an offer. No responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. Investors bear the full credit risk of the issuer / [guarantor] for products which are not issued as COSI® products. Before investing in derivative instruments, investors are highly recommended to ask their financial advisor for advice specifically focused on the investor´s financial situation; the information contained in this document does not substitute such advice.

 

This publication does not constitute a simplified prospectus pursuant to art. 5 CISA, or a listing prospectus pursuant to art. 652a or 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations. The relevant product documentation can be obtained directly at Leonteq Securities AG via telephone +41 (0)58 800 1111, fax +41 (0)58 800 1010, or via email termsheet@leonteq.com.

 

Selling restrictions apply for the EEA, Hong Kong, Singapore,the USA, US persons, and the United Kingdom (the issuance is subject to Swiss law).

 

The Underlying’s performance in the past does not constitute a guarantee for their future performance. The financial products' value is subject to market fluctuation, which can lead to a partial or total loss of the invested capital. The purchase of the financial products triggers costs and fees. Leonteq Securities AG and/or another related company may operate as market maker for the financial products, may trade as principal, and may conclude hedging transactions. Such activity may influence the market price, the price movement, or the liquidity of the financial products.

 

Insofar as this publication contains information relating to a Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Product (PRIIP), a Key Information Document in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (PRIIPs Regulation) is available at https://www.priipkidportal.com/

 

Any - including only partial - reproduction of any article or picture is solely permitted based on an authorization from Leonteq Securities AG. No responsibility is assumed in case of unsolicited delivery.

 

© Leonteq Securities AG 2023. All rights reserved.

 

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