The stocks that offer the best and worst returns aren’t always the companies that get the headlines. Sometimes, it’s the more unglamorous shares that perform the best. Here’s a round-up of the best- and worst-performing FTSE 100 stocks of 2021.
What were the best-performing FTSE 100 stocks in 2021?
1. Ashtead Group plc (up 74%)
London-based industrial rental company Ashtead Group was the top growth stock in the FTSE 100 in 2021. The company serves customers in the UK, Canada and the United States.
Like many FTSE 100 companies, US revenue is crucial to the success of Ashtead Group. It’s actually the second biggest rental company in the US, and 80% of its revenue is earned in the US.
2. Meggitt (up 67%)
Second on the leader board is UK-based aerospace and defence company Meggitt.
The growth in share price is largely due to an expected takeover by rival US firm Parker-Hannifin. The deal is expected to complete in 2022.
3. Glencore Plc (up 58%)
Third on the list of best FTSE 100 growth stocks is the Anglo-swiss mining company Glencore Plc. The company is one of the world’s largest mining companies and had a very successful year in 2021, turning results around from an operating loss to a profit.
4. Royal Mail (up 53%)
Royal Mail was also one of the top-performing FTSE 100 stocks in 2021. The Covid pandemic led to increasing numbers of parcels deliveries and a reduction in the number of letters. In November, Royal Mail reported greater than expected results and was able to return money to shareholders through a share buyback and a special dividend.
5. St James’s Place Plc (up 51%)
Rounding off the top five is financial services and wealth management company St James’s Place.
Other runners and riders
The chemical company Croda Plc was in third place on the list at the beginning of December, but it slipped back to seventh place by the end of the year. Its share price is up 49% over the whole of 2021.
What were the worst-performing FTSE 100 stocks in 2021?
So, which FTSE 100 stocks performed worst in 2021?
1. Ocado (down 34%)
The worst-performing FTSE 100 stock is the online grocer Ocado. The slump follows a fantastic year in 2020 when the company’s share price grew by almost 100%.
2. Fresnillo (down 32%)
Gold and silver mining company Fresnillo had a disappointing year in 2021. This has been mirrored by falls in the share price for other gold and silver mining companies.
3. Polymetal international plc (down 30%)
Another of the worst-performing FTSE 100 stocks is Polymetal, also a gold and silver mining company. It has seen its share price reduce significantly in 2021.
4. Flutter Entertainment (down 25%)
Flutter entertainment, the owner of Paddy Power and Betfair, has seen its share price slump this year. The betting company expects a loss for this financial year amid news that there may be a tightening of gambling restrictions on the horizon.
5. London Stock Exchange Group (down 19%)
The London Stock Exchange Group has also had a bad year with a falling share price in 2021.
What can we learn from the best-performing FTSE 100 stocks?
The fortunes and share prices of companies can be a rollercoaster ride. Individual FTSE 100 stocks often vary a lot more in price and have much bigger swings in value than the FTSE 100 as a whole.
Overall, the FTSE 100 is up 9.9% over the past year – not hugely impressive, perhaps, but a decent increase nonetheless.
That’s why I chose to invest the bulk of my pension in index tracker funds that spread my investment across the whole market, rather than individual shares. It’s so hard to predict which individual shares will be the winners during 2022, and even the experts often get it wrong.
If you want to invest in an index tracker fund, then take a look at our top-rated stocks and share ISAs. If you do decide to invest in individual shares then take a look at our top-rated share dealing accounts.
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