The first quarter of 2015 saw the most volatile start to year since the financial crisis in 2009, but which stocks have been the winners and the losers in the volatility?
Data for the first quarter of the year, compiled by Hargreaves Lansdown, shows that banking companies have seen the largest losses in the FTSE 100, while surprisingly mining companies took the top spot.
Mining firms were hit by the downturn in commodity prices, returning some lacklustre results for the first quarter of the year. However, Anglo American and Glencore were two bright spots, taking the top spots for the largest gains made in the FTSE 100.
Anglo American saw an 84.4 per cent total return in the first quarter of the year, making it the best performer, while Glencore saw a 73.9 per cent rise in the three months.
However, Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says the two stocks have had a volatile start to the year, “lurching from the top of the FTSE to the bottom in a matter of hours at times”.
Rolls Royce was among the top 10 performers for the quarter, returning an 18.6 per cent total return.
A number of high-profile fund managers have cut their stakes in the car maker in recent months, with Neil Woodford ditching his entire stake in the company in December last year, after holding it for more than 10 years.
Fellow UK equity manager Richard Buxton, at Old Mutual Global Investors, also offloaded his shares in Rolls Royce, which was around 3 per cent of his portfolio.
Khalaf says the rise in the company stock may be a sign of it “turning the corner” after a “torrid time of late”.
Looking to the worst performers, the list is dominated by banking groups, making up four of the bottom 10 list. Barclays took the bottom spot, returning a 30 per cent loss for the quarter.
Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Standard Chartered were also on the bottom list, delivering losses of 26.3 per cent, 16.4 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively.
“With the exception of Lloyds, all four of the FTSE 100 banks find their way into the bottom ten performers so far this year. Barclays and RBS have done particularly badly, as investors punished them for delaying dividends, and still being some way off rude health seven years after the financial crisis,” says Khalaf.
“The banks have also been marked down as a result of the continued low interest rate environment. While they are at different stages of recovery, they are all at least heading in the right direction. However the risk is that while they are in the process of getting to their feet, an economic slump knocks them back down again.”