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Analysts vs the machines

I keep hearing that analysts are high on the list of people who are going to be replaced by AI. I can tell you Innovation isn’t being written by ChatGPT just yet, but I must confess I subscribed to the $20/month souped up version, in case of emergencies. Unfortunately, since then the email I used to subscribe has been deactivated and I am locked out of the account, but they are still taking the $20. I asked ChatGPT if it could put me in touch with the help-desk but it said it didn’t think there was one (there is). I asked for my $20 back and it clammed up entirely.

I guess the future will have to wait, but I do like to think I’m a trier at the very least, and we are of course seeing more and more AI related positions across our funds. Some funds are able to simply buy Nvidia, but there are many issues with this given the combination of its size and rapid growth. Most obviously it is now nearly 5% of the index, so any meaningful overweight position in a US fund is potentially running into the UCITS 10% rule, and the size of the overweight is being reduced over time.

Some funds have to be more creative. Nvidia trades on over 30x forward earnings, and this may not fit the fund’s philosophy or investment process. I’m also old enough to remember when “don’t invest in things you don’t understand” was almost everybody’s stock picking mantra, yet here we are – AI experts everywhere you look.

One such fund is De Lisle America who we had an update from last week. Manager Richard De Lisle looks for undervalued earnings growth in mostly smaller companies. The fund has a p/e of just over 10x vs the S&P 500 which is just over 20x, and has a long-term record of outperforming the index without owning the large tech stocks. What he does very well is find stocks which have perhaps been overlooked, but are exposed to trends such as AI from different angles.

Super Micro Computer is one of these, bought by the fund last October on a p/e of around 15x, it provides data centre and storage infrastructure including liquid cooling of the data centres. AI is both data and power intensive, and cooling data centres has been an issue for some time – some of Facebook’s are near the Arctic Circle.

In its recent results for its (Q2) December quarter end, Super Micro reported revenue of $3.66bn vs $2.8bn estimated. Quarterly revenue was higher than in the whole of 2021. They increased their full year to June 2024 guidance to over $14bn from previous guidance of $10bn-£11bn. Earnings increased ahead of expectations as well – up 71% y/y to $5.59. Since buying in October, the stock is up over 3x and has significantly outperformed Nvidia over the (admittedly short) period.

I’m of course aware of potential efficiencies AI can bring to our industry and others. Number crunching is an obvious example, but even here I would say it is not always straight forward. I have still not been at Hawksmoor very long, and De Lisle pre-dates me being here, but we have access to the founder share class, so what numbers would the AI be crunching so early in the fund’s life? Would it have any kind of relationship with the manager as a long-term holder of the fund? What about regulation? Financial services must be one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, technology and specifically AI is barely regulated at all.

Anyway, now that I am no longer on speaking terms with ChatGPT, I have discovered and prefer Copilot instead, for various reasons. Copilot goes up to the present day for example, so it was able to help me write up Super Micro’s recent results. Then I had another idea and asked Copilot if it could unsubscribe me from ChatGPT and ideally get my $20 back, and I promise this is true, it just wrote a weird poem about fighting with ChatGPT.

Robert Fullerton – Senior Research Analyst

All charts and data sourced from FactSet

Hawksmoor Investment Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority ( with its registered office at 2nd Floor Stratus House, Emperor Way, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, Devon EX1 3QS. This document does not constitute an offer or invitation to any person in respect of the securities or funds described, nor should its content be interpreted as investment or tax advice for which you should consult your independent financial adviser and or accountant. The information and opinions it contains have been compiled or arrived at from sources believed to be reliable at the time and are given in good faith, but no representation is made as to their accuracy, completeness or correctness. The editorial content is the personal opinion of Robert Fullerton, Senior Research Analyst. Other opinions expressed in this document, whether in general or both on the performance of individual securities and in a wider economic context, represent the views of Hawksmoor at the time of preparation and may be subject to change. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and any income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of market and currency fluctuations. You may not get back the amount you originally invested. Currency exchange rates may affect the value of investments.

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