A 50%-plus jump in the share price of packaging firm Macfarlane Group saw it top the league table of Scottish stock exchange listed companies during 2019.
Figures compiled by wealth manager Brewin Dolphin showed investors in the Glasgow-headquartered firm enjoyed a 50.7% gain over the year, closely followed by Aberdeen transport provider FirstGroup (+50.36%), with shareholders in Edinburgh oil explorer Cairn Energy (+36.67%) also enjoying bumper returns.
Only three of the 19 Scottish-based firms on the FTSE saw their share price fall in 2019 – Irn-Bru maker AG Barr (-26.49%); energy group Wood (-21.28%); and aviation services business John Menzies (-7.62%).
Overall, shares in Scottish companies listed on the FTSE outperformed the FTSE 350 and All Share indices in 2019.
The wealth manager found that Scottish organisations on the FTSE averaged a gain of +16.11% in 2019, compared to uplifts of +14.17% and +14.19% for the FTSE 350 and FTSE All Share. The FTSE 100 and 250 finished the year up by +12.10% and +25.03%, respectively.
However, Scottish firms listed on the Alternative Investment Market lagged their benchmark, ending the year +3.38% ahead, compared to the AIM All Share’s gain of +11.61%. The de-listing of Goals Soccer in September and a share price fall of more than 47% at fast fashion retailer Quiz contributed to the poor performance.
John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said : “Scottish shares on the FTSE performed better than the overall ‘market’, which is undoubtedly a good news story. It demonstrates the resilience many of them have shown in the face of an uncertain 12 months. However, the performance of the AIM-listed shares shows why investors considering this higher risk area should ensure they have a diverse portfolio of assets – both by geography and sector – and take appropriate professional advice.
“Smaller businesses were largely 2019’s problem children. Generally, the issues they have faced are stock-specific or particular to their markets – oil and gas and property, for example, which are more represented among the AIM companies. Brexit clarity should help drive more enthusiasm for these businesses: with growing appetite for private rented sector (PRS) property reflecting on to Sigma and the self-help and income attraction of Ediston, which have largely been overlooked during a period of risk aversion.”