a year to forget because our advice does not make money for readers in 2021

Questor has had a terrible year. The average return on our stock advice since Jan. 1 has been a loss of almost 2%, while the market, on a like-for-like basis, has risen 5.1%. Exactly half of the 50 stocks that first switched in 2021 as buy or hold fell and half rose.

This performance contrasts sharply with that of last year, when our predictions rose an average of 30.6%, outperformed the FTSE 100 by 27.7 percentage points and suffered just 10 losers out of 59 stocks announced for. the first time. This is an extraordinary set of results and we shouldn’t be surprised that this year has not been up to par. Nonetheless, making an overall loss and underperforming the index is disappointing and we have to look for the reasons.

There is a clue in the common theme among last year’s award winners, which were often tech companies or those well positioned to profit from the upheaval caused by the pandemic.

And we’ve seen dramatic gains among those stocks: CrowdStrike, an American computer security firm, gained 274 pc after our January 2020 board, while Frontier Developments took advantage of the popularity of computer games during lockdowns and its actions have increased by 162 pc between our board in March and the end of last year.

Several other Questor selections, such as Ocado and Games Workshop, put in over 80pc.

Again, the contrast to this year is sobering. Our best gain in 2021 was 50.7 pc from Marks & Spencer, which we advised readers to buy in May. Shares of AMD, the chipmaker, have risen 41.5% since our board in August, and the 40.1% of “robotics software” company Blue Prism since June comes next.

Three others, Vivendi, the French media giant, Totally, the NHS subcontractor listed by Aim, and Accenture, the consulting firm, rose 20 to 30%. Hikes from Sainsbury’s, treatment maker Covid Synairgen, Montana Aerospace, i3 Energy, tour operator Tui, engineer Spirax-Sarco, BP, trendy blender company Fever-Tree and PepsiCo were at least double digits.

Halfords, Wickes, component maker Essentra, packaging company DS Smith, JP Morgan Chase, builders Redrow and Bellway, Lam Research, semiconductor equipment maker, Admiral and engineer Ricardo did only single-digit gains.

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