We usually recap each month, but this time we are taking a look at the first half of 2021 as a whole. The first six months of this year looked a lot different than the first six months of 2020. In February 2020, stock markets crashed around the world amid the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. As vaccines have since been produced at record speeds and economies around the world ramp up, American and European equities have responded positively.
The EURO STOXX 50 surpassed the 4,000 level for the first time in May 2021, closed at a record high of 4,158.12 in June 2021 and ended the first half of the year gaining 14.40%. Across the pond, the S&P 500 also surpassed the 4,000 level for the first time in May 2021, closed at a record high of 4,297.50 in June 2021 and ended the first half of the year up by 14.41%.
In this article, you will find the most traded stock in each of our countries. We normally take a look at all stocks, but this time, we only included the stocks in the main American and European indices to zoom in on the largest players in the market. We then discuss the most dominant stock among our investors and the stocks that saw the biggest price movements in the first half of 2021.
Apple was the dominant stock
In the first half of 2021, Apple was the most popular stock in the majority of our countries, being traded the most in 11 of 18 countries. In H1 2021, prices climbed 3.22%.
Apple started the year off on a strong note, with prices reaching record highs in January 2021. Some other highlights from the first half of the year:
- Apple’s first-quarter results significantly surpassed analysts’ estimates, driven by 5G iPhone sales and iPad and Mac purchases. Sales were $89.6 billion, an increase of 54% from the same period in 2020.
- In April 2021, Apple launched a new product called AirTag, which can be attached to items such as keys, wallets and bags to track their location.
Apple, however, also faced challenges. For example, the company faced several antitrust issues, including a trial with Epic Games and a complaint handed over by the European Commission regarding its app payment rules. It also felt the impact of the global chip shortage, experiencing supply constraints because of it.
At the time of writing, Apple has not yet released its earnings report for Q2 2021, but it has started the second half of the year off strongly, already surpassing the record highs set in January 2021.
Biggest price movements
Out of the stocks on the map, Shell was the winner in the first half of 2021, and CD Projekt Red was on the losing end.
Royal Dutch Shell
Shell, the most traded stock among our Dutch clients, saw a 16.36% price increase in H1 2021. Oil prices were battered in 2020 due to implications of Covid-19 and price wars between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which had a negative impact on many companies within the oil industry. The situation got so dire that in April 2020, Shell cut its dividend for the first time since World War II to preserve cash.
While still recovering, the situation for the oil industry drastically improved at the end of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Demand has increased as economies recover, and supply has been closely managed by refiners so far in 2021, having a positive impact on oil prices and thus oil companies. This was supported in Shell’s Q1 2021 earnings report. Shell posted an overall profit in 2020 due to its earnings in other areas, such as natural gas, but in Q1 2021 it turned a profit from oil output for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
CD Projekt Red
Prices for polish video game maker CD Projekt Red dropped by 32.65% in the first half of 2021. The start of 2021 looks a lot different than the start of 2020 for the company. In April 2020, CD Projekt Red was the most valuable company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. However, in December 2020, prices took a plunge.
CD Projekt launched its highly anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10th, 2020. Following the launch, prices fell as players reported numerous glitches and dropped further when Sony pulled the game from its PlayStation Store on December 18th, 2020. As the company was working to fix glitches, it experienced a ransomware attack in February 2021, causing further delays. Since then, the company has resolved some of Cyberpunk 2077’s issues, and Sony reinstated the game to its PlayStation Store in June 2021. Stock prices increased by 9.65% in June 2021 but still have a long way to go from its record closing high set in August 2020.
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Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Investing.com, Yahoo! Finance