After a difficult last few months of 2018, the stock market has enjoyed a strong rebound in 2019 with the FTSE 100 hitting new highs for the year this morning up 0.6% to 7,274.18. This extends its year-to-date gains to 8.1%.

The table below shows the stocks which have performed the best year-to-date and have helped power this rise in the index.

Company YTD performance (%)
Ocado 42.7
Micro Focus 37.7
Taylor Wimpey 34.1
Barratt Developments 32.1
Next 31.5
Evraz 31.4
Lloyds Banking 26
British American Tobacco 25.3
Royal Bank of Scotland 25.1
Legal & General 22.9

Source: Sharepad, 18 March 2019 (excludes 3i Group)

Top of the list is online groceries play Ocado (OCDO) boosted in part by the announcement of a new agreement with Marks & Spencer (MKS) which we explain in more detail here.

Software firm Micro Focus (MCRO) has managed to put the troubled integration of HP Enterprise behind it and unveiled an extremely well-received set of full year results in mid-February which we looked at in this article.

Like a number of areas which were sold off heavily in the latter part of last year, the housebuilding space has enjoyed a strong recent recovery. We discussed our thoughts on the sector as a whole, encompassing Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Barratt Developments (BDEV), and its income appeal in an in-depth feature earlier this year.

High street retailer Next (NXT) is another stock which has been rehabilitated of late, getting 2019 off to a storming start with a 3 January trading update which revealed Christmas trading was better than expected. The company is one of our top picks for 2019.

Financials have also been strong thanks to a pretty solid results season and rising hopes that a damaging 'no-deal' Brexit can be averted, allowing the Bank of England to raise interest rates which would help their returns.

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Issue Date: 18 Mar 2019