In the first six months of 2019, the blue chip index has managed to return investors an impressive 10.4%.
Once again, the FTSE 100 bucked the UK’s political and economic uncertainty, producing an overall return of 10.4% in the first half of 2019.
However, despite the solid gains, the FTSE 100 remains cheap. As Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, notes: “It is still possible to argue that UK stocks look cheap and fund flow data suggests they remain unloved.”
But which FTSE 100 shares gave investors the best and worst returns so far this year?
The two best performers in the FTSE 100 started the year outside of the index. The highest returns came from JD Sports Fashion, which was only added to the index in June. Its return since the start of the year to the end of June stands at a whopping 72.1%.
JD Sports’ strong gains comes in defiance of a general gloom among UK high street retailers. According to Mould, the company has continued to benefit from a boom in “athleisure” wear.
At the same time, the company’s organic growth is being supplemented by acquisitions. This often makes shareholders nervous. However, notes Mould: “JD Sports’ £400 million swoop for Finish Line seems to be going to plan and over here the company is buying Foot Asylum to further cement its competitive position.”
The second-best performer was Aveva. The company was only added to the FTSE 100 index in March and has produced a return of 68.4% since the start of the year.
Aveva is a leading provider of engineering and industrial software used in the maintenance of power plants, oil refineries, offshore oil rigs and other similar large engineering assets.
The company was recently tipped by Guy Anderson, manager of Mercantile Investment Trust, in Money Observer’s Buy, Hold, Sell feature.
Of those companies that started the year in the FTSE 100, Ocado has provided the best return (52.5%). Ocado had topped the table at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
According to Mould: “The company has continued to evolve its strategy away from food delivery and toward being a technology play that sells licences for its software solutions and logistics and warehousing prowess.” This has allowed the firm to sign numerous deals, such as a joint-venture with Marks & Spencer, as well as with companies in Australia, France, the US, Sweden and Canada.
The worst return for all the FTSE 100 so-far this year has been provided by Centrica, the owner of British Gas. Fears about the company’s dividend have continued to cause a drag on the share price. At the same time, recent figures showed that the utility company was bleeding customers to the tune of 742,000 in 2018. Its shares are down 34.9% on the year.
Sainsbury’s has also made an appearance on the back of the failure of its proposed merger with Asda. Plans for the merger were announced last year, sending the share price flying. However, the competition regulator recently blocked the plans, sending prices back down.
Imperial Brands has continued to show weakness. According to Mould, “it has been dogged by concerns over a regulatory crackdown on e-cigarettes in the USA, weak volume sales for traditional tobacco products in America and a $15 billion class action lawsuit in Quebec, Canada.”
International Consolidated Airlines, the owner of British Airways, has also found itself on the worst performer list after markets punished it higher oil prices, increased costs and softening demand.
|1||JD Sports*||General Retailers||72.1%|
|2||AVEVA*||Software & Computer Services||68.4%|
|4||Micro Focus||Software & Computer Services||51.6%|
|6||Halma||Electronic & Electrical Equipment||48.1%|
|97||International Consolidated Airlines||Travel & Leisure||-24.1%|
|99||TUI||Travel & Leisure||-30.6%|
|100||Centrica||Gas, Water & Multi-utilities||-34.9%|
Source: Refinitiv data. *Only joined the index in June.
This article was originally published in our sister magazine Money Observer, which ceased publication in August 2020.
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