These were the FTSE 100’s biggest winners and losers in 2021!

In a positive year for the FTSE 100, some big shares soared while others came crashing down. These were the index’s biggest jumpers and slumpers in 2021.

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Scene depicting the City of London, home of the FTSE 100

Image source: Getty Images.

Happy New Year! Last year turned out to be pretty good for UK investors. In 2021, the FTSE 100 index rose by 14.3%, its best annual performance since 2016. However, across the Atlantic, the US S&P 500 soared by 26.9% to record its third consecutive year of double-digit returns. Both figures exclude dividends, which add around 4% to the Footsie’s gain. As you’d expect, some FTSE 100 shares did really well, while others did terribly. Here are the index’s biggest winners and losers last year.

The FTSE 100 in 2021

Of 101 stocks in the FTSE 100 in 2021 (one company is dual-listed), 74 rose in value. The highest gain was 70.3%, while the lowest increase was a mere 0.3%. Across all 74 winners, the average gain was 23%. That’s 8.7 percentage points above the wider index’s return. At the other end of the scale lie 27 losing shares. The biggest loss among these FTSE 100 laggards was 27.2%, while the smallest decline was a tiny 0.1%. Across all 27 losers, the average loss was 11.4%.

The Footsie’s five biggest winners

In 2021, 49 FTSE 100 stocks beat the index. Of these, 29 shares gained in value by 25%+. Here are the index’s five biggest winners.

Company Sector Gain 
Ashtead Group Equipment rental 70.3%
Glencore Mining & trading 58.5%
Croda International Speciality chemicals 54.8%
Meggitt Aerospace engineering 54.5%
Segro Commercial property 50.6%

All five superstar shares returned above 50% in 2021 (excluding dividends), with the average gain across all five being 57.7%. The highest return came from equipment-rental company Ashtead Group, whose US business is going great. In second place is Glencore, whose shares and earnings were boosted by soaring commodity prices. Taking third place in the FTSE 100 is Croda International, which makes a wide range of speciality chemicals for industry, personal care, and healthcare.

Fourth of the five is British engineer Meggitt, which specialises in the aerospace, defence, and energy sectors. Currently, Meggitt is the target of a £6.3bn takeover offer by US rival Parker Hannifin, which explains why its shares have soared this year. Fifth and last is Segro, a FTSE 100 real estate investment trust and the largest industrial property company in Europe. Segro has benefited from a rebound in property valuations after 2020’s collapse.

The Footsie’s five biggest losers

Now I’ll review the laggards. Of the FTSE 100’s 27 losers in 2021, 15 stocks suffered double-digit declines. Here are the Footsie’s five biggest losers for last year.

Company Sector Loss
Fresnillo Mining -21.4%
Polymetal International  Mining -23.0%
Flutter Entertainment Gambling & betting -23.1%
London Stock Exchange Group Exchange technology -23.8%
Ocado Group Online retail -27.2%

As you can see, price declines at these five losers range from 21.4% to 27.2%, with the average loss being 23.7%. The list includes two overseas miners, Fresnillo and Polymetal International, whose shares were hit as prices of precious metals slipped later in the year. Meanwhile, Flutter Entertainment‘s stock has dived since September after it withdrew from several markets and profits took a hit from punter-friendly sporting results.

London Stock Exchange Group, operator of stock exchanges and provider of markets data, has struggled in 2021. This followed its mega-acquisition of financial data and analytics platform Refinitiv. In last place is online supermarket Ocado Group, whose go-go growth shares have crashed by 41.9% since peaking at 2,886p on 27 January 2021.

Finally, I don’t own any of these 10 stocks, so would I buy any? Yes, I’d buy just one today and it’s one of the losers — LSEG. Though it’s had a tough 12 months, this group operates in a niche market with a wide competitive moat. Hence, it might well rebound this year, especially if stock markets keep booming in 2022!

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be considered so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

Cliffdarcy has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Croda International, Fresnillo, and Ocado Group. 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.

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