Earlier today, I looked at 3 stocks from the FTSE 100 that have done exceedingly well in 2021. In this article, I’m turning my attention to the more domestically-focused second tier of the UK market — the FTSE 250. Here are another group of shares that make me wish I could turn back the clock.
One company that’s knocked the ball out of the park has been media group Future (LSE: FUTR). Its shares have leapt 105% in the year to date as the company’s strategy of snapping up publishing assets continues to pay off and profits have soared. That’s a superb return compared to the 13% achieved by the FTSE 250 index as a whole.
At £4.5bn, Future is now knocking loudly on the door of the FTSE 100. Whether it manages to gain entry in 2022 is open to debate though. Having grown strongly during the pandemic, I wonder whether performance will moderate as we emerge on the other side. Some profit-taking looks inevitable too.
However, I’m inclined to be optimistic. Margins are steadily improving and free cash flow is strong. Perhaps most importantly, the company announced in November that FY22 adjusted results would likely be “materially above current expectations“.
So, based on a valuation of 24 times earnings, I wouldn’t be against adding Future to my own portfolio.
Another second-tier winner in 2021 is pharmaceuticals business Indivior (LSE: INDV). Its stock has delivered a near-150% gain — thanks to the company repeatedly raising its guidance on earnings. The supplier of medicines to treat drug abuse and mental illness has also been buying back its stock, further supporting the ascent of its share price.
Looking ahead, analysts are expecting Indivior to grow earnings per share by 45% in 2022. This leaves the stock on a P/E of 16. Sadly, I don’t think the demand for its products is likely to fall dramatically on a longer timeline either, potentially making Indivior an ideal buy-and-hold candidate.
That said, it’s worth noting that this stock has shown itself to be highly volatile in the past. Back in 2020, for example, the price crashed 30% in just one day after news that former parent company Reckitt had filed a lawsuit against it. That’s the sort of movement we might associate with a penny stock. It also makes me doubt whether I’d want to add the stock to my own portfolio, particularly as Indivior doesn’t offer a dividend as compensation.
Watches of Switzerland
A third FTSE 250 member that’s done extremely well for shareholders has been Watches of Switzerland (LSE: WOSG). The premium timepiece seller’s value has climbed just over 155%, serving as a reminder to me that momentum can continue for a lot longer than one may expect. Every time I’ve assumed a pullback will occur, the share price has only moved higher. Investing is hard.
Like Future, however, I do question what may happen to the stock when the pandemic has finally passed. I suspect shoppers will want to use their cash on experiences rather than posh watches. As such, I still maintain that some kind of retreat wouldn’t be a surprise in 2022. The current valuation seems to make the risky assumption that management will execute its plans perfectly.
As good as recent trading in the UK and the US has been, a P/E of 37 looks too dear to me. WOSG stays on my watchlist for now.
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Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.