Scots FTSE shares up 9.5% in H1; most AIM stocks fall

Shares of Scottish companies listed on the main FTSE stock market ended June 9.5% higher than they started the year, compared to a rise of 10.39% across the FTSE All Share, according to analysis from Brewin Dolphin. 

However, AIM-listed companies in Scotland were down 7.19% on average, well behind the AIM All Share index’s 7.07% gain over the first six months of the year.

Eight of the Scottish AIM stocks rose and 16 fell.

Only four of the 19 Scottish-based constituents of the FTSE ended the first six months of 2019 lower: STV (-1.98%), Stagecoach (-4.23%), Wood (-10.71%), and John Menzies (-11.33%).

The biggest Scottish FTSE gainers over the same period were packaging firm Macfarlane Group (+33.99%), sausage skin maker Devro (+29.21%), engineering firm Weir Group (+19.14%), and Irn-Bru producer AG Barr (+17.49%).  

First Group rose 17.21%, Alliance Trust jumped 15.7%, Cairn Energy climbed 15.4%, Standard Life Aberdeen was up 14.74%, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust rose 13.61%, Scottish Investment Trust climbed 9.01%, Aggreko was up 7.84%, CYBG rose 6.13%, SSE was up 3.74% and RBS up 1.43%.

Scotland’s AIM constituents were dragged down by troubles at Glasgow fashion retailer Quiz, which lost 46.03% of its value since the turn of the year.

Among the top Scottish performers on AIM was surveillance systems designer Indigovision, with its shares up 50.87% from the beginning of 2019.

Nucleus Financial, the fintech company, and patent attorneys Murgitroyd gained 38.66% and 35.33% respectively.  

John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said: “The first half of the year highlights that many of Scotland’s AIM-listed companies are going through growing pains.

“That’s not the end of the world – to help the businesses with real potential break through, investors need to be patient.

“Rather than being reactive to short-term influences, it underlines why you need to stick with investments for the long-term. 

“Sigma Capital and Craneware are good examples of this.

“While their share prices haven’t done well since the turn of the year, they’ve identified long-term opportunities that, if their respective markets can become more established, could prove very fruitful.

“Most analysts agree the private rented sector will grow significantly over five to ten years.

“Likewise, making the US healthcare sector more efficient has seldom been more needed.

“But neither of these things will happen immediately and, in the meantime, the companies will be buffeted about by the wind. 

“While Scotland’s more established businesses haven’t quite kept up with the wider index, they are still in relatively positive territory.

“The likes of AG Barr and Devro are well rooted in their markets and are cash-generative companies with strong supply chains – they can exert a certain amount of control and take steps to help themselves.

“Macfarlane Group is another instance of a company taking steps to help itself in a changing industry by making a series of acquisitions.”