74% return! Here are the biggest winners in the FTSE 250 so far this year

We’re at the halfway point of 2024 and plenty of FTSE 250 businesses have been thriving! Zaven Boyrazian looks at the biggest winners, so far.

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We’re now halfway through 2024 and the FTSE 250 has been a solid performer, so far. The index has increased by just over 3.5% since the start of the year. But this figure climbs to more than 7% including dividends. Yet some of its constituents have been even more fortunate, venturing firmly into double-digit return territory.

As an investor, I’m always hunting for winning opportunities. So let’s take a look at which businesses are leading the charge this year.

Top 10 FTSE 250 stocks in H1 2024

CompanyIndustryYear-to-Date Return
Hochschild MiningMetals & Mining+74%
Bakkavor GroupFood Producers+69%
Trustpilot GroupTechnology+60%
Spirent CommunicationsTelecom. Equipment+49%
Keller GroupConstruction & Materials+48%
CurrysConsumer Discretionary+47%
QinetiQ GroupAerospace & Defence+43%
Britvic (LSE:BVIC)Beverages+42%
Plus500 LtdFinancial Services+38%
Helios TowersTelecom. Services+37%

Combined, these top 10 stocks have delivered an average return of 50.7% over the last six months. Needless to say, that’s quite impressive. And for those fortunate enough to own this collection of enterprises, a pat on the back’s definitely warranted.

However, just because these businesses have performed admirably so far this year, doesn’t mean the second half of 2024 will be as lucrative. After all, these surface-level figures provide no insight into what’s actually driving them. And in some cases, the catalyst may only be temporary. Let’s take a closer look at one stock.

Inspecting Britvic

Over the last decade, Britvic’s been a stellar performer. And as one of the earliest picks in our Share Advisor premium service, investors have enjoyed more than a 500% return since July 2012, thanks largely to dividends.

The impressive performance seen so far this year certainly looks like its impressive track record’s continuing. However, on closer inspection, shareholders may have seen the end of the road. That’s because this year’s tremendous performance isn’t being driven by the underlying company but rather by a takeover bid from Carlsberg Group.

So far, management’s rejected two bids from the brewery giant. That’s given a strong signal to investors where it believes the firm’s value lies. But it also encourages Carlsberg to come in and offer more money if it wants to complete the takeover.

Assuming this strategy’s successful, Britvic shareholders may soon be getting a lovely payday. So does it make sense to snap up some shares today before this takeover happens? In my opinion, no.

There are a few things to consider. Carlsberg’s under no obligation to continue pursuing Britvic. The company’s likely trying to capitalise on weak market valuations to get itself a terrific deal. But if it can’t get the price it wants, the takeover may simply not happen. But even if it does, unless the firm comes back with a significantly higher offer, the majority of gains from a takeover already appear baked into Britvic’s share price.

In other words, such an investment may fail to generate a meaningful return. And it may even lead to losses should a deal fail to emerge and the share price slide again. All of this is to say that when exploring winning stocks for potential opportunities, investors need to closely scrutinise each prospect.

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 assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Zaven Boyrazian has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Britvic Plc and QinetiQ Group Plc. 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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