Stocks to buy

Automation and robotics are proving to be two megatrends of the 2020s. The pandemic, in particular, showed the vulnerability of our existing supply chains and labor supply. And the ensuing inflationary period we’ve seen since then has forced companies to take a hard look at their costs and try to maximize the efficiency of their processes, creating a great opportunity for investors to buy robotics stocks.

Any industrial or software process that can enable work to become more automated should deliver strong returns on investment. As companies scramble to fix their supply chains and logistics, the rush is on to utilize robotics and automation wherever possible.

These three companies in particular are creating solutions which should thrive in the coming years. As robotics and automation become increasingly important in the software and industrial fields, keep a close eye on these robotics stocks.

CMCO Columbus McKinnon $37.17
CGNX Cognex $55.31
PEGA Pegasystems $50.43

Columbus McKinnon (CMCO)

Source: Shutterstock

Columbus McKinnon (NASDAQ:CMCO) offers one of the most compelling ways to ride the automation wave. One of the most practical places that automation and robotics can be utilized is warehouses. Indeed, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is known for shrewdly investing in warehouse robotics in order to drive down its fulfillment costs and make its employers safer

Columbus McKinnon will be boosted by the automation of multiple areas of logistics. That’s because the company makes the physical tools needed for 21st-century, automated warehouses. If you need conveyor belts, hoists, rigging tools, and motion-control systems, Columbus McKinnon is the name to call. The more that companies can utilize Columbus’ systems, the fewer warehouse employees they need to utilize.

In addition to e-commerce companies, next-generation manufacturing facilities need more logistics and materials-conveyance equipment than ever before. With the wave of reshoring —  putting factories in America again — look for Columbus McKinnon’s revenue from the industrial sector to surge as well.

CMCO has rallied sharply in recent months, but it still trade for just 13 times its forward earnings, which is a bargain.

Cognex (CGNX)

Cognex (NASDAQ:CGNX) is a mid-sized industrial company with multiple shots on goal involving automation and robotics.

The company provides  logistics for smart factories and warehouses, and its market share is as large as that of Columbus McKinnon. It also has among the world’s best fixed-mount barcode readers. The latter products, as opposed to handheld barcode readers, enable consumers to automatically pay for items without the help of cashiers.

Cognex is also a leader in machine vision, which allows computers and robots to perceive real-world objects. Cognex’s recent acquisition of Sirius Advanced Cybernetics illustrates the sorts of next-generation technology that CGNX provides. Cognex’s machine vision solutions can help power smart cars, along with various electronics products.

Cognex has also invested in  edge learning powered by AI. The latter system allows  machines, instead of humans, to test products and conduct inspections.

CGNX stock fell sharply last year amid a slowdown in the capital expenditures of smart warehouses and factories. However, that dip should prove to be an opportunity for long-term investors who want to be exposed to Cognex’s technologies.

Pegasystems (PEGA)

Source: Shutterstock

Automation and robotics apply not just to the physical world, but to software as well. Enter Pegasystems (NASDAQ:PEGA), which operates a low-code platform that makes it easy for large enterprises to automate parts of their workflows.

In popular language, such platforms are sometimes called software robots. The idea behind such systems is that when a machine can handle mundane tasks, skilled employees can spend more of their time on projects which can benefit companies’ bottom lines.

Pegasystems’ solutions are tailored for the automation of workflow and processes, and they utilize artificial intelligence to streamline their customer-service operations. The firm focuses on recruiting customers in large markets, including finance, government, and health care.

The firm’s business slowed in 2022 amid the recession of the tech sector. However, its growth is accelerating again.

Its fourth-quarter results blew away analysts’ expectations, as its earnings per share of 82 cents came in miles ahead of analysts’ mean expectations of 15 cents. Additionally, its revenues climbed 25% year-over-year to $396 million, far ahead of the average outlook of $334 million.

Pegasystems still faces a bit of an uphill struggle as many of its customers are reducing their spending. Indeed, the total capital available to be spent on robotics will likely be limited until the tech industry perks back up. However, Pegasystems is well-positioned for the long-term, especially because its artificial-intelligence solutions have gained appeal thanks to the increasing focus on that industry.

On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in CMCO stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.

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