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FTSE Leaders so far in 2021

With the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival upon us we thought we might look at the form guide for the leading performers in the FTSE 100 so far this year.

Article updated: 15 March 2021 12:00pm Author: Graham Spooner

Leading the field is Johnson Mathey with an impressive 29% rise so far this year. The company, which is a global leader in sustainable technologies is best known for catalytic converters, which help reduce emissions from vehicles. They are also involved in the development of new batteries for electric cars. Investors appear to be taking the view that the group is well positioned to continue to benefit from green issues and despite a couple of recent analyst downgrades and competition concerns, the shares are in touching distance of a 2-year high.

Tucked in behind the leader is International Consolidated Airline whose shares were hit very hard in the early part of 2020 and still remain around 50% lower than pre-covid times. The vaccine programmes around the world has led investors to hope that better times are ahead and that there will a quicker return to overseas travel and businessmen and women wanting to attend actual meetings rather than on Zoom.

Closely on the heels of the leading two and poised to take the leading spot is bookmaking group Entain, which is up by around 28%. Online demand for betting and gaming held up well over the pandemic and hopes are growing for the return to its shops reopening soon. The group will also be hoping for some long price winners at the important and popular Cheltenham festival and there are expectations for more acquisitions in the future.

The recovery in the oil price, back close to a 2-year high has benefitted the share price of BP so far this year, although it must be pointed out that at 320 pence it is still a long way below its pre-covid levels of close to 500 pence. The going has been increasingly sticky for some of our old school businesses and past form should probably be discounted when it comes to future performance. Probably not appealing to greener investors and trying to predict the oil price is on a par with getting winners at Cheltenham.

Finally to the perhaps less well-known Evraz, with around a 22% gain this year. The Russian based group is involved in mining and steel production and highly geared to global economic growth. Investors have had a bumpy ride over the years and corporate governance issues added further complications.

To put the rise of the above stocks into some context the FTSE 100 so far this year is up by around 4.5%.

All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.

Graham Spooner portrait photo
Graham Spooner

Investment Research Analyst

Graham started out as a fully authorised dealer on the Stock Exchange trading floor and for various banks, before becoming an FCA-approved investment adviser. Now a respected voice in the media, Graham’s share tips and comments on the markets are frequently sought by the national press.

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