Revealed! How the biggest FTSE 100 companies performed in 2021

The FTSE 100 is up over 11% since the turn of the year. So how have its biggest members performed in 2021? Let’s take a look.

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Members of the FTSE 100 have a combined market cap of £1.814 TRILLION. So far this year, the UK’s largest share index is up over 11%.

So, with the year almost over, let’s take a look at how the biggest members of FTSE 100 have performed in 2021. [top_pitch]

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What are the biggest companies in the FTSE 100?

Here are the ten biggest members of the FTSE 100, based on their market cap:

FTSE 100 member Industry  Market cap (£ billion)
AstraZeneca Healthcare 127.51 

Unilever Group

Consumer goods 99.23


Beverages 89.53

HSBC Holdings

Banking 87.79


Healthcare 77.18
Royal Dutch Shell A Oil and gas 66.98
BP Oil and gas 66.5
Rio Tinto Group Metals and mining 58.92
Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ Oil and gas 58.86
British American Tobacco Tobacco 58.46

How have the largest FTSE 100 companies performed in 2021?

It’s fair to say that the five biggest companies in the UK have had mixed fortunes in 2021. Here’s the lowdown on how each individual stock has performed.

1. AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca’s share price has jumped 15.26% in 2021.

The largest company in the FTSE 100 has continued to hit the headlines this year as a result of its involvement in developing and distributing its Covid-19 vaccine.

2. Unilever Group

Unilever is the second biggest firm listed on the FTSE 100. The London-based consumer goods company has seen its share price slide 12.6% this year.

Consequently, it’s fair to say that investors have not taken well to Unilever’s interim results in 2021. Analysts suggest the company has suffered greatly from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had an adverse impact on its operating margins.

3. Diageo

Diageo’s share price has surged in 2021.

The beverage firm, which owns big-name brands such as Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, and Bailey’s, has seen its value rise by an impressive 35.91%. This is in stark contrast to 2020 when Diageo’s value fell 10%.

4. HSBC Holdings

HSBC is another member of the FTSE 100 that will be satisfied with its performance in 2021. The self-proclaimed ‘world’s local bank’ has witnessed its share price increase by a respectable 16.3% in 2021.

Despite this, the bank will be all too aware that its share price hasn’t risen as much as rivals Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group. Both of these banks have seen their share price climb by around 30% this year.

5. GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline’s share price has risen 16.5% in 2021.

Investors in the manufacturing giant will likely be pleased with this performance, given the company had an awful 2020. In 2020, GSK’s value dropped by almost £500 a share.


What can investors learn from these performances?

Four out of five of the FTSE 100’s largest firms have seen their share price rise by more than the 11% average. This tells us that 2021 was, overall, a particularly good year for its biggest members.  

Diageo shareholders will almost certainly be some of the happiest. Its share price has grown by a massive 35% over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, Unilever investors have had a year to forget after the company’s share price slumped by more than 12%. Having said that, some investors will undoubtedly be keen to pick up Unilever shares in 2022 given its perceived ‘knock-down’ price.

How can you invest in the FTSE 100?

If you want to invest in members of the FTSE 100, you have two options.

You can invest in a FTSE 100 index tracker fund that tracks the collective performance of its members. To do this, you will need to find an investing platform, such as Hargreaves Lansdown, and choose the appropriate fund.

Alternatively, you can choose to buy shares in individual members of the FTSE 100. To do this, you can open a share dealing account and pick specific companies you wish to invest in.

As with any investing, remember that the value of your investments can fall as well as rise. If you’re new to investing, it’s a good idea to read The Motley Fool’s investing basics guide.

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