UK markets closed
  • FTSE 100

    -20.35 (-0.30%)
  • FTSE 250

    -196.81 (-0.95%)
  • AIM

    -2.78 (-0.23%)

    -0.0045 (-0.40%)

    -0.0046 (-0.33%)

    -475.92 (-1.99%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +41.45 (+6.79%)
  • S&P 500

    -11.60 (-0.30%)
  • DOW

    -179.03 (-0.57%)

    -1.15 (-2.16%)

    -10.40 (-0.56%)
  • NIKKEI 225

    -125.41 (-0.44%)

    -479.91 (-1.60%)
  • DAX

    -32.70 (-0.24%)
  • CAC 40

    -31.22 (-0.56%)

Investing: these were my top-performing shares in 2020

Edward Sheldon, CFA
·4-min read
Champagne poured into a row of flutes
Champagne poured into a row of flutes

2020 has been a pretty good year for my share portfolio. While the FTSE 100 index is in the red for the year, my portfolio is very much in the black.

Here, I’m going to reveal the shares that generated the best returns for me in 2020. I’ll also look at a few key takeaways from my top-performing stocks.

UK shares: my best performers

In terms of my UK shares, my top performer was online retailer ASOS. I bought some ASOS shares right in the middle of the stock market crash. I paid just 1,120p per share. Today, ASOS shares are changing hands for around 4,500p, meaning I’m up about 300%. The same day I bought ASOS, I also bought JD Sports Fashion shares. At the time, they were trading at 320p. Today, they trade at 780p, meaning I’ve made a gain of about 140%.

My gains didn’t all come from stocks I bought in the crash however. A number of stocks I’ve held for years also did very well. One example is Clipper Logistics. This is a stock I bought a few years back. I was sitting on a loss for quite a while. This year however, Clipper shares have risen around 100%. So, I’m in profit now.

Keywords Studios is another stock that outperformed in 2020. This is an under-the-radar UK company that provides technical services to the video game industry. It started the year at 1,498p. Now, it’s near 2,750p. That represents a gain of about 80%. DotDigital also did well for me. It started the year at 96p. Now, it’s trading at 155p. That’s a gain of about 60%.

Finally, I made some nice gains from Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. It rose a little over 100% for the year.

My top international stocks

International stocks played a key role in my investment portfolio this year. My best performer here was Upwork.

This is a small US-listed company that operates one of the world’s largest freelance employment platforms. I bought in here in May, at around $12.20 per share, after I noticed a board member was spending millions on stock. Since then, Upwork shares have risen to $40, netting me a nice return of about 230%.

Another good performer was PayPal. I bought this during the crash at $89. It’s now at $235, which means I’m up about 160%. The same day, I bought Alphabet at $1,070. It’s now at $1,730, which represents a gain of about 60%.

Finally, there was Apple. This is currently my largest holding. It started the year at $73 (after the stock split) and is now near $125. That 70% return has really helped my portfolio.


Looking at the performance of these stocks, there are a few clear takeaways for me. Firstly, all of these stocks are benefitting from structural growth drivers. ASOS, for example, is benefiting from the growth of online shopping. PayPal is benefitting from the rapid growth of digital payments.

Secondly, plenty of these stocks are small-cap stocks which are under the radar. These stocks, such as Clipper and dotDigital, did very well for me.

Third, buying during the stock market crash paid off massively. Finally, having plenty of exposure to international stocks made a huge difference to my returns. By owning US stocks like Apple and PayPaI, I was able to grow my portfolio while the UK stock market declined.

The post Investing: these were my top-performing shares in 2020 appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

More reading

Edward Sheldon owns shares in ASOS, JD Sports Fashion, Keywords Studios, DotDigital, Upwork, Apple, Alphabet, Clipper Logistics, PayPal, Scottish Mortage Investment Trust. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Alphabet (C shares), Apple, and PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ASOS, Clipper Logistics, dotDigital Group, and Keywords Studios and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75 calls on PayPal Holdings. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Motley Fool UK 2020