We sent out all the right signals by picking Cable & Wireless

The telecoms giant helped the 'IoS' outperform the FTSE All-Share in 2003, says Abigail Townsend

Maybe it was just good luck, or perhaps it all came down to professional expertise. But what is not in doubt is this: over the last 12 months, The Independent on Sunday's portfolio of stocks rose by 59.9 per cent, while the FTSE All-Share Index added just 16.6 per cent by comparison.

Maybe it was just good luck, or perhaps it all came down to professional expertise. But what is not in doubt is this: over the last 12 months, The Independent on Sunday's portfolio of stocks rose by 59.9 per cent, while the FTSE All-Share Index added just 16.6 per cent by comparison.

Of course, equity markets were helped and hindered in equal measure in 2003 by wider geopolitical events. In the run-up to war, no one felt like buying equities, and the outbreak of the Sars virus further battered the leisure sector. The plus side was the strong run equities enjoyed as President George Bush declared that the war was over and the global economic upturn continued.

Yet for the strongest performer in the IoS portfolio, it was all about the boardroom. Telecoms group Cable & Wireless acquired a new chairman and chief executive, Richard Lapthorne, who announced a retreat from its ill-fated foray into the US and settled a £1.5bn tax dispute. Investors lapped it up and the shares gained a hefty 198 per cent over the year.

Following in the recovery-play footsteps was Reuters. Early in the year, the news and information group, led by former lawyer Tom Glocer, declared an annual loss of £394m and shares plunged to a record low of 95.5p. For a stock worth more than £16 just three years ago, it redefined nadir. But Reuters' share price battled back, as investors tried to decide whether the worst was over. Third-quarter results just pipping forecasts further helped, and the stock finished 2003 up a respectable 32 per cent.

Drugs giant and FTSE 100 stalwart AstraZeneca, meanwhile, was the polar opposite of a recovery play. Buying pharmaceuticals is not without risk: the sector has suffered from generic competition and weak pipelines. Yet AstraZeneca's old-fashioned defensive qualities proved attractive. Chief executive Sir Tom McKillop and shareholders also breathed a collective sigh of relief after cholesterol drug Crestor finally received regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Not doing as well was Scottish Power. The electricity group rose just 3 per cent despite decent results and a turnaround at its US business. Evidently the company's plan to reduce the dividend from this year does not sit well with investors.

The one foreign stock in the portfolio was Frankfurt-listed banking group Commerzbank, which followed a generally upward trajectory. There had been concerns the bank might run into financial trouble but savvy investors knew the German authorities were unlikely to let it collapse. Cost-cutting helped further, as did the prospects of consolidation.

Which brings us to our final stock. Last year, Jonas Nissé, the then 16-month-old son of The Independent on Sunday's business editor, plumped for Christian Salvesen as his top tip for 2003. Brokers everywhere can relax, however - the logistics company was the only one of the six stocks that would have lost you money. The company had gone into free-fall in 2002 after profits slumped, and the slide continued in 2003, with shares hitting a low of 33p. The prospect of takeover talks nudged the stock back up but the talks collapsed, the dividend was cut and the shares drifted for the rest of year.

Young Jonas may have let the side down, but even with that entirely forgivable slip, the IoS portfolio would still have made you a profit - all but two of the stocks, Christian Salvesen and Scottish Power, outperformed the FTSE All-Share. Which, in layman's terms, means: if you had invested £100 net in the British IoS shares, you would have finished the year with £150.15, whereas a fund tracking the FTSE All-Share would have given you £116.56. The entire portfolio, leaving out the effect of currency changes, would have produced a net return of £159.91.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

    Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

    £23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

    MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

    Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee