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Death by Disruption for BlackBerry, Twitter… and Humans?!

Louis BaseneseIt’s Friday in the Wall Street Daily Nation!

That means the long-winded analysis is out. And instead, some carefully selected charts are in. After all, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, right?

You’ll notice a recurring theme is developing here — death by disruption.

Last week, we covered Amazon’s epic market share assault on traditional retailers. This week, we’re focusing on the smartphone space, social media and the future of mankind!

Without further ado…

Blackberry Hits Rock Bottom

While Apple’s stock is hitting all-time highs, BlackBerry Ltd. shares are plumbing all-time lows. That is, in terms of market share.

The latest data out of tech research firm Gartner confirm the most obvious, overdue and unsurprising death in the history of tech: BlackBerry’s global market share is now officially 0%. To be exact, it’s 0.0481%.

Worldwide smartphone sales in fourth quarter 2016

Oh, how times have changed.

Before the smartphone, BlackBerry reigned supreme as the phone of choice for professionals. It earned the nickname “CrackBerry” because of its addictive appeal.

Now it’s just another tech relic, joining the Sony Walkman atop the trash heap.

All hope is not lost for investors, though. As I shared before, BlackBerry is sitting on a treasure trove of tens of thousands of patents. I’d say it’s way overdue for management to monetize them.

Twitter’s Growth Problem

Even bombastic tweets from the leader of the free world can’t resurrect growth at former social media darling-turned-dud, Twitter.

The company reported quarterly results last week. Once again, growth was nearly nonexistent — in terms of revenue and monthly active users. What gives? People are flocking to other social media outlets instead.

Year-over-year growth of key metrics

And once again, investors bailed on the stock. When will they ever learn!?

Where there’s no growth, there are no gains.

I’ve been sharing this table for over a year now. Where? On Twitter, of all places. (Oh, the irony!)

Stock performance after quarterly reports

In fairness, I’ve also been warning about Twitter’s growth woes on CNBC’s Closing Bell.

Regardless of the medium, the takeaway remains the same… Twitter is one of the worst stocks to own headed into earnings.

If you need extra convincing, check out the recent analysis from Bespoke Investment Group. They found that Twitter’s “absolutely horrid” post-earnings performance makes it the fourth-worst stock in the entire U.S. to own into earnings.

Translation: Don’t be caught dead owning it in late April when the company reports results again.

Don’t Fret the Robot Apocalypse

I’m not going to join the band of fearmongers warning that the world is headed for a robot apocalypse.

But I will say this: We’re certainly headed for a more automated future.

If you have any doubt, consider how quickly Amazon ramped up its robot workforce.

Number of Robots in Amazon Facilities Soaring

Even more telling is the fact that iPhone manufacturer Foxconn now plans to replace almost every human worker with robots.

The company’s general manager of the automation committee says Foxconn has a three-phase plan to automate its Chinese factories with software and in-house robots, known as “Foxbots”.

We’re still in the early phases, of course, but it’s progressing nonetheless. Currently, Foxconn has deployed 60,000 Foxbots. But by 2020, the company hopes to reach 30% automation.

Another telltale sign of the march toward automation: Capital continues to flood into the space. In December 2016, 10 robotics-related companies attracted $94 million in funding, while four were acquired for a combined total of more than $2 billion.

What’s the best way to profit from it? Well, you can hit the easy button and snatch up the Robo Global Robotics & Automation ETF (ROBO).

Ahead of the tape,

Louis Basenese
Senior Analyst, Wall Street Daily