3 Robot Stocks That Could Make You Rich


Time-strapped homeowners know all about Roomba, the stylish robotic disk that goes scurrying around the floor sucking up dirt without human guidance. The company behind the Roomba -- and its less popular floor-washing Scooba sibling -- is Massachusetts-based iRobot (IRBT).

Vacuuming and mopping floors isn't all that iRobot does. The company also has dedicated consumer products that seamlessly clean roof gutters and scrub down swimming pools. However, some would argue that iRobot does its most important work away from the home.

iRobot is a major player in defense robotics. Its all-terrain PackBot has saved countless lives by detonating roadside bombs, keeping soldiers and first responders out of harm's way. There are also maritime robots from iRobot's arsenal patrolling the waterways.

However, there is something else that iRobot does: It beats the stuffing out of Wall Street's profit targets.

This Is No Robot Chicken

iRobot posted another blowout quarter on Tuesday night.

Revenue climbed 28% to $120.4 million in the third quarter. Earnings more than doubled, though $0.50 a share in profitability becomes $0.38 a share once you back out a one-time tax benefit. It's still a monster showing on the bottom line. Analysts were banking on an adjusted profit of $0.26 a share after watching iRobot earn $0.27 a share a year earlier.

Investors should be used to this by now. iRobot has blown past the pros on a quarterly basis for more than two years. Let's go over the past four quarters to admire the magnitude of iRobot's victories over Wall Street.

EPS est.
Q3 2011
Q2 2011
Q1 2011
Q4 2010
Source: Thomson Reuters.

The cherry on top of Tuesday night's report is that iRobot is revising its outlook for all of 2011 sharply higher.

Aye, Robot

Robotics are no longer science fiction. There are plenty of publicly traded companies that specialize in futuristic gadgetry improving industries today. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) is the company behind the da Vinci robotic arm that is transforming the way surgical incisions are done in some procedures. The da Vinci robot is no threat to surgeons, and it actually helps reduce surgeon fatigue.

Up in the air, AeroVironment (AVAV) makes unmanned aircraft vehicles. These flying robots can spy on the other guys, as well as monitor borders and oil pipelines closer to home.

Small robotics are here. Don't be worried, just lift your feet to give your Roomba space to do what it does best.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks discussed in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of iRobot, AeroVironment, and Intuitive Surgical.

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The Robot Report

Investing in robotics stocks has been a disappointment so far... but there are exceptions. The three mentioned in this article are and have been dependent on the military for their research dollars and, as those budgets are being cut, so too will their stock prices.

At The Robot Report, we've created an index (Robo-Stox™) of 125 global robotic stocks and have tracked them since December 2007. Thus far, as a group, they haven't recovered from the recession. But some stocks are doing quite well. MAKO and IRSG in the US, Curexo in Korea, a couple in Israel and Canada.

The big industrial manufacturers are holding things down. The big defense contractors - which have subsidiaries doing robotics - are really conglomerates and not really robotic stocks. And the newest startup companies and most service robotics companies aren't yet publicly traded.

But stay tuned. Things are changing. Watch the monthly Robo-Stox™ index as it appears on The Robot Report and stories in our blog which name and detail the progress of publicly-traded stocks.

Robo-Stox™ at The Robot Report (www.TheRobotReport.com)
Robo-Stox™ details and blog at Everything-Robotic (www.Everything-Robotic.com)

December 26 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sssshhhhh, you dont want to make the occupy thugs mad....shame on you for suggesting anyone might want to get RICH....lol....a NEW four letter word the socialists want to add to the profanity list....

October 28 2011 at 9:07 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Turn your workers into sales people don't terminate them.

October 28 2011 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Irobot lays off workers that make the defense bots making it an I- loser!

October 28 2011 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply