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Actionable news in ROBO: Robo-Stox Global Robotics and Automation Index ETF,

Crushing the old economy: Robotics, artificial intelligence fund has tripled the Dow this year

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are making some real money for stock investors, and beating the market.

The Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) is up 30 percent this year and the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index (ROBO) is up 25 percent. That's roughly three times the Dow Jones industrial average's 9 percent rise and twice the S&P 500's 11 percent climb.

"Between the tech exposure and the international exposure, that's helped the group pretty well," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "Certainly thematically it's in a sweet spot."

The upward trend in robotics and artificial intelligence stocks is one proponents say, in the long-term, could top the so-called FANG stocks — Facebook,, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet. Each FANG stock has rallied 20 to 50 percent this year and the companies are increasingly focused on using technologies such as artificial intelligence, or AI, to develop their businesses.

"In our opinion, robotics, automation, AI — [RAAI] is really the next FANG trade if you will," William Studebaker, president and CIO at Robo Global, told CNBC.

"All the FANG companies are really redefining their business as AI first and they're investing" in these companies, Studebaker said. "We're selling the tech they're using to enable their business."

Relative performance of ROBO and BOTZ to the S&P 500 (year to date)

Source: FactSet

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite has soared 19 percent...