- Amid inflationary pressures, the UK markets have been hit and delivered poor performance in the first half of 2022.
- In such a situation, investors look for stocks that are less volatile and provide decent returns.
Inflation in the UK reached 9.4% in June, the highest in 40 years. It has been touching new highs every month for a few months and is expected to rise further. Investor confidence has taken a hit amid the inflationary pressures and a gloomy economic outlook. Fears of a recession have also added to the woes.
This has hit equity markets as investors are exercising more caution. The FTSE 100 index put up a poor performance in the first six months of 2022, and the outlook isn't very bright either, as inflation is likely to rise in the coming months. In such a scenario, investors are looking for stocks that are less volatile and offer good returns. Let us explore some stocks which have provided decent returns to shareholders in the past one year.
Centrica Plc (LON: CNA)
The energy firm supplies electricity and gas to its customers in the UK. It is hammering out a deal with the government to reopen a mothballed gas storage facility that'd help keep supplies for winters if Russia cuts off supply over sanctions. CNA on Tuesday had a market cap of £5,245.92 million, and has given a return of 98.96% to investors over the past year. On a year-to-date basis, the return has reached 26.01%. Shares of Centrica were trading at GBX 90.10, down 1.46%, as of 9:06 am GMT+1 on 2 August 2022.
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National Grid Plc (LON: NG.)
Another energy utility firm listed on the London Stock Exchange is National Grid, which transmits gas and electricity to its customers in the UK. The company says Britain faces 'knock-on' impacts, including high gas prices, if Russia halts gas supplies to Europe. As of 2 August, the company has a market cap of £40,840.28 million, and its share value has appreciated by 22.50% over the past 12 months. It currently has an EPS of 0.65. Shares of National Grid were trading 0.98% higher at GBX 1,130.00 as of 9:41 am GMT+1 on Tuesday.
Shell Plc (LON: SHEL)
Shell is an energy giant headquartered in London and operates in over 70 countries. It posted bumper profits in the first and second quarters of 2022 due to the high fuel prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. With a market cap of £156,856.78 million, shares of the company were trading at GBX 2,158.00, up 1.03%, as of 09:39 am GMT+1 on Tuesday. The stock has appreciated nearly 50% over the past one year, and the year-to-date return stands at 33.06%.
BP Plc (LON: BP.)
BP is another leading British oil and gas firm with operations across the UK, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Its profits also received a boost from the skyrocketing fuel prices. The stock has a 12-month return of 40.61% and a YTD return of 23.06% at present. With a market cap of £74,741.00 million, the stock rallied over 3.5% on Tuesday and traded at GBX 406.30 as of 9:46 am GMT+1.
Imperial Brands Plc (LON: IMB)
The fourth-largest tobacco company in the world has a presence in about 120 markets. It manufactures cigarettes and several other tobacco products and has products like West, Davidoff, Gauloises and JPS under its portfolio. The company holds a market cap of £17,221.39 million, and it has given a return of 19.73% to the investors in the past one year. The EPS currently stands at 3.00, and the YTD return is 13.93%. Shares of Imperial Brands were trading at GBX 1,847.50, 1.96% higher as of 9:57 am GMT+1 on Tuesday.
British American Tobacco Plc (LON: BATS)
Leading tobacco firm, BATS holds a holds a market cap of £72,794.12 million, and its 12-month return is 24.31%, while the YTD return is 21.93%. Shares of the company were trading 3.16% higher at GBX 3,332.00 as of 10:07 am GMT+1 on Tuesday.
Standard Chartered Plc (LON: STAN)
Standard Chartered is a leading banking and financial services provider and has over 1,200 branches across 70 countries. It posted solid gains for the second quarter of 2022 as its pre-tax profit reached US$1.32 billion. For the six months to 30 June 2022, the lender reported an overall profit before tax of $2.82 billion, 7% higher than H12021. Shares of Standard Chartered were trading at GBX 571.60, up 0.60%, at 11:02 am GMT+1 on 2 August 2022. Its one-year return currently stands at 32.04%, while the YTD return is 27.65%.
GSK Plc (LON: GSK)
GSK is a British pharma giant and a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Last month, it demerged its consumer healthcare arm into a separate entity named Haleon, which was also listed on the FTSE 100. GSK's one-year return presently stands at 19.95%, and the YTD return is 5.89%. Shares of the firm were trading at GBX 1,699.40, up 0.33% as of 11:21 am GMT+1 on Tuesday.
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HSBC Holdings Plc (LON: HSBA)
HSBC is a multinational banking and financial services holding firm and one of Europe's largest lenders. At $13.1 billion, its adjusted total revenues saw an 11.6% rise year over year. As of 11:41 am GMT+1 on Tuesday, shares of the lender were trading 2.00% lower at GBX 534.30. Over the past one year, the share price has increased by 34.53%. The stock has an EPS of 0.62.
BAE Systems Plc (LON: BA.)
BAE Systems is a leading defence manufacturer headquartered in Farnborough, UK. At present, it holds a market cap of £24,848.85 million and has given 38.18% returns to the investors over the past year. The YTD returns stand at 45.70%. Shares of BAE Systems were trading at GBX 801.40, up 1.83% at 11:54 am GMT+1 on Tuesday.