Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"What Happened to Nanotech?" TINY; PXN

It's here, the problem is we haven't figured out the possibilities.
I've said before that advances in materials science combined with advances in manufacturing science will make this secular bear market shorter than the 1966 (or '64)-1982 predecessor.
From Bespoke Investment Group (since I'm pasting their whole post I'll throw in the ad for their game, gratis):

Back in the "good 'ole days" of the mid-2000s, investors were riding a bull market wave and looking for "the next big thing." One of those "next big things" was nanotechnology. Ever since the collapse began in 2007, however, the nanotech craze seems all but forgotten. We can't remember the last time we read or watched something about nanotech. A search of the term on Google News Archives confirms that there has indeed been a decline in nanotech coverage. As shown below, news articles containing the word "nanotechnology" peaked in 2006, and they've been declining steadily ever since. (Interestingly, this year does seem to be on pace to eclipse 2009.)

Stocks and ETFs relating to nanotech have also lost investor interest. The PowerShares Nanotech ETF (PXN) actually came out right when the nanotech craze was peaking in 2005. As shown below, the ETF never really went anywhere. Even as the overall market was rising from 2005 to late 2007, PXN traded sideways. When the collapse hit, PXN wasn't spared.

Volume in PXN shows the lack of interest as well:

One individual stock that is pretty specific to nanotech is Harris & Harris Group. Harris & Harris is a venture capital firm specializing in nanotech. In fact, in 2002 the company switched its stock ticker from HHGP to TINY! TINY actually peaked in early 2004, well before the craze hit its peak. It has been in a steady downtrend ever since.

During bull markets, investors love to predict "the next big thing" because pretty much everything is going up and everyone thinks they're stock market genuises. Things fade away pretty quickly once the party comes to an end. Nanotech was definitely one of those "next big things" during the '02-'07 bull market that has faded in recent years. It's not dead yet, however, and unlike many crazes during the "Internet Bubble," nanotech does serve a purpose. If this bull market does continue to run, it will be interesting to see if nanotech experiences a resurgence.