The absence of a traditional Santa rally on London markets this Christmas sums up the story for beleaguered investors in 2011, particularly during the second half of the year. Twelve months ago analysts were indulging not just in mince pies and Champagne but in speculation that the FTSE 100 would breach 6,000 points by New Year’s Eve. This year, relentless macro pressures have dulled the senses more than the booze – and breaking 5,500 would be an achievement for an index that has spent much of the past five months pinned at that level. It is unsurprising then that of 2,511 shares listed on LSE markets, only 558 of them are currently trading at higher valuations than they were at the close of 2010. Among that basket, 32 have recorded gains of 100%-plus and the top 10 performers have all enjoyed price rises of more than 200%. At the other end, 1646 stocks lost ground during the course of the year. Of them, 404 lost more than 50% of their value and 26 of those haemorrhaged more than 90%. As a quick aside, it is worth noting that the top three performers in our list last year – Parkmead (LON:PMG), Condor Resources (LON:CNR) and Arian Silver (LON:AGQ) – all achieved their positions after riding a wave of warm investor sentiment and strong market momentum. But could they keep it up? The short answer to that is no. While Parkmead has gone on to start making its promised asset acquisitions, the shares had little chance of sustaining the 32p closing price, despite the presence of ex-Dana Petroleum boss Tom Cross as chairman. It falls from first to 2060, with a 47.1% decline for any investors that were buying the stock on the final day of 2010. Shares in Condor fell by precisely the same percentage, dragging the company down to 1954 on this year’s list. For Arian, whose shares peaked at 53p on the last day of last year, the performance has been worse, with the stock declining by 68.9% through 2011. For this year’s best performers, bullish sentiment and momentum were replaced by fear and volatility but that didn’t stop top placed Quindell Portfolio (LON:QPP) from driving a 0.5p share price up by 925% during 2011. This time last year, privately held Quindell agreed the terms of a reverse takeover of AIM listed Mission Capital in a deal that was eventually completed in May (shares in Mission were suspended in August 2010 at 0.5p while it continued to search for a reverse takeover candidate). Headed by Rob Terry, who previously founded Innovation (LON:TIG), Quindell works with business customers and investee companies on leveraging their brands to achieve more sales. Terry’s aggressive buy-and-build strategy at TIG has so far been replicated at Quindell, with a series of acquisitions including the recent purchase of Mobile Doctors. The rest of the top five performers include mining and now oil exploration company Umc Energy (LON:UEP) (up 590%), electronics group Psg Solutions (LON:PGS) (up 456%), property company Redefine International (LON:RDI) (up 408%) and oil shale explorer Tomco Energy (LON:TOM) (up 343%). In the case of Quindell, Redefine and TomCo, the price performance involved dramatic corporate deals. Meanwhile, UMC’s shares soared on the back of the purchase of a company with petroleum prospecting licences in Papua New Guinea. Arguably the most interesting stock is PSG, a hitherto quiet and unassuming AIM listed electronics group whose shares rocketed on news of a major government contract win that could prove transformational for the company. After TomCo, the best performing oil and gas stock in the Top 100 is Lansdowne Oil amp; Gas (LON:LOGP), which operates in the North Celtic Basin, offshore Ireland. Lansdowne has a 20% stake in the Barryroe oil discovery, where appraisal drilling is currently being carried out by Providence Resources (LON:PVR). It has also completed 3D seismic surveys over other prospects in the basin and is expected to launch a farm-in programme for those early in 2012. Shares in Lansdowne rose by 157% to 35.5p during the year, putting it at 18 in the Top 100 list. In November we reported that telecoms and technology group Globo (LON:GBO) was the top contender on Stockopedia PRO’s Jim Slater Zulu Investing screen, which seeks out attractively priced growth stocks. AIM listed Globo has consistently grown its net profits, and last year’s figures were up by 54% to £3.8 million. Shares in the company closed 2010 at 10.5p and went on to spike in April this year at 28.5p. Since then the stock has dropped back to around 20p but that still represents a 93% rise, achieving position 38 in the Top 100 list. Moving on, 2011 was a big year for online dating business Cupid (LON:CUP), whose shares leapt by 69% during the year as an ambitious expansion strategy began to pay off. Originally listed as Easydate in June 2010, Cupid has been keen to build its portfolio at home and abroad. Upgrades to its earnings forecasts in January and May, together with a storming profit improvement and lots of cash have helped to catapult the shares, earning it position 53 in the Top 100 performers. Finally, last year we reported that the best performing retail stock on the market was Mulberry (LON:MUL) and in 2011 the luxury bag brand has done it again. Revenues increased by 69% to £121.6 million in 2011, with pre-tax profits up 358% to £23.3 million and the company has recently appointed ex-Hermès France MD Bruno Guillon as its new chief executive. After closing 2010 with a share price of 900p, the stock has since risen by 63%, putting it at number 61 in the Top 100. Among a handful of star performers, the overwhelming trend this year for London listed stocks was negative (you can analyse the technical and fundamental performance of any of these stocks in more detail using Stockopedia PRO). According to analysts, retail shareholdings at the height of the stock market crash in August fell to just £201bn - 15% lower than their end of May close and £46bn lower than their pre-crisis 2007 peak. Amid that turmoil, investors also had to contend with the usual roster of crash and burn stories. On that note, the worst performing stock in 2011 was Leed Petroleum (LON:LDP), whose US oil and gas business fell apart in the early summer. While investors will begin 2012 with a heightened awareness of what macro-induced volatility can do to their portfolios, it would be difficult to claim that the depressed conditions that have dominated the second half of 2011 will settle down any time soon.Top 100 UK Stock Market Performers in 2011
Source: ShareScope and StockopediaBased on closing prices between 31/12/2010 and 21/12/2011
updated Dec 23, 2011
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