2023 has been an eventful year. Here are the Top 5 Gainers and Losers – based on stock price year-to-date - on both the ASX200 and S&P500. All data is sourced from Bloomberg for the date range 1 January 2023 to 8th December 2023 and is correct as of December 8th 2023.
ASX200 – Gainers
The top-performing stocks on the ASX200 for 2023 were found predominantly in materials and gold miners with Neuren Pharmaceuticals also making the top 5.
The biggest gainer, Emerald Resources, replaced Invocare on the ASX200 in 2023. Their first commercial gold operation in Cambodia has been a huge success. The Okvau gold mine operates at a relatively low cost leading to high profit margins.
Another top 5 gainer in the gold mining sector has been Ramelius Resources. The firm made two significant acquisitions during the year which expanded its operations. The gold price has also supported both Ramelius and Emerald after the commodity rallied from October lows.
Both James Hardie and Boral delivered positive results in 2023 along with high expectations moving forward into 2024. Through strong demand, increased pricing, and cost management both firms looked to have sparked interest from investors.
ASX200 – Losers
On the other end of the spectrum, the story has been dominated by lithium and the commodity’s sharp price decline. Electric vehicle demand stalled in 2023 amid a tough economic environment and cost of living pressures. Core Lithium and Sayona Mining stock prices are tightly linked to the price of lithium so sold off heavily along with other peers and were at times amongst the more shorted stocks on the ASX200.
Moving into 2024 Investors could be keenly watching the lithium price given the huge popularity of the sector in Australia. Star Entertainment makes the top 5 worst performing stocks of the ASX200 in light of potentially losing its license to operate in Sydney. Two senior officials have resigned recently and the company doesn’t appear healthy with less than one year of cash runway.
S&P500 – Gainers
Meta Platforms Inc
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
Palo Alto Networks Inc
The top-performing stocks on the S&P500 for 2023 were found in two main sectors. The first is technology, which has been fuelled by the AI boom and, in the latter half of the year, growing expectations that US interest rates have peaked. The second is the post-pandemic resurgence of cruise companies. Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival posted profits in 2023 following three years of pandemic-related losses.
Nvidia’s revenues soared during the year and its management expects that momentum to accelerate. Whilst the company’s valuation is extremely high the stock remains well-loved and could easily create new all-time highs in 2024 if net-income growth comes in as management predict.
Whilst Meta recovered from the deep sell-off in 2022 the market will consider the Reality Labs business and whether that continues to make a loss or if Zuckerburg can bring his dream to reality.
S&P500 – Losers
Solaredge Technology Inc
Enphase Energy Inc
Dollar General Corp
Some of the worst-performing stocks on the S&P500 were in the solar sector after results missed estimates due to weaker demand. Solaredge struggled with the impact of interest rates on demand for their products and a subsequent inventory build-up. Enphase will be dropped from the Nasdaq 100 which has also fuelled a sell-off.
Like the lithium market in Australia (as lithium is a key element within batteries for electric vehicles), the question remains whether the adoption of renewable or green energy has been overestimated sending valuations too high. Whilst the long-term thematic is still intact, investors may have to be patient and look at a longer investment horizon.
Another interesting poor performer is Moderna. The company looks to have struggled post-pandemic and expectations are for 2024 to be an even tougher year with sales estimated to reduce by a third of 2023 levels.