We continue with our look at winners and losers so far this year and this time we concentrate on the best performing companies within the FTSE 250, which has hit another all-time high.
FTSE 250 winners so far in 2021
The rise in the index which is more UK-focussed than the more commented on FTSE 100 has coincided with the easing of lockdown and increasing hopes for the UK economy, along with hopes that we will all spend that much more after saving during the various lockdown periods.
As a benchmark the FTSE 250 is up by around 9.5% this year.
Leading the risers is Restaurant Group; owners of Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama. The company was hit very hard by the shut-down and so far this year the shares have risen by around 95%. Of course, this rise comes off of a low level and the shares have only just managed to return to pre-covid levels. Investors appear to be focussing on recent new long-term debt refinancing and a trading update which stated that its takeaway and delivery service had performed well.
Gamesys Group, the online bingo-led games company is up by 70% this year, helped by the news in March of a proposed merger with US casino operator Bally’s Corp. This highlights another reason for the good performance of the FTSE 250 as UK companies are perceived as being attractive to overseas predators.
Oil exploration group Tullow has retuned a 60% gain, although it must be stated that the group has been struggling for years and the share price was further hit by the fall in the oil price as a result of the covid situation. The rise in the oil price this year and signs of improving cash flow has helped, but it remains in desperate need of some good news regarding some new oil discoveries.
Facilities management group Mitie’s shares are up by around 55% but this is another company whose shares are bouncing off of a low. A third quarter trading update in late January noted encouraging revenue growth and a share placing in March improved the balance sheet.
Finally to Hammerson; the property group that owns shopping centres, retail parks and offices. The company was under pressure before the covid crisis and the sector was further hit by the effects of the virus. The shares which were around the 250p mark in 2018 started this year at 25p and are now close to 50p. The group posted its biggest ever loss in March and is set to offload assets in order to survive, along with a move to convert old stores into housing.
Looking at the companies mentioned above and glancing at the other risers just below the top 5, the theme is that most of the leaders in percentage terms are companies whose shares have been rather bombed out either over 2020 or over the previous years.
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