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For all the year’s doom and gloom, some stocks have still found a way to shine. But what exactly were the best performing FTSE 350 shares in 2018?

#10. Auto Trader Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £3.60
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £4.48
Percentage Change: +24.4%

Auto Trader’s big moment came in early June, as a 10% rise in full year pre-tax profits to £210 million countered its warnings about the UK new and used car markets.

#9. Ei Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £1.46
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £1.84
Percentage Change: +26.0%

The UK’s largest pub company capped off a strong 2018 with November’s full year results, which saw the firm announce it was putting its commercial property estate up for sale.

#8. Pearson PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £7.42
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £9.40
Percentage Change: +26.7%

The former FT-owner saw most of its growth in the first half of the year, as it reassured investors its turnaround was on track.

#7. QinetiQ Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £2.31
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £2.93
Percentage Change: +26.8%

The turning point for QinetiQ’s 2018 came in late-May, with a 3% rise in annual organic revenue to £833 million, its consecutive year of growth.

#6. Syncona PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £2.02
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £2.63
Percentage Change: +30.2%

Life science investment trust Syncona really built up a head of steam over the summer, in large part thanks to the successful IPO of Autolus Therapeutics, of which the firm is a major shareholder.

#5. Drax Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £2.69
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £3.63
Percentage Change: +34.9%

An already strong year was made all the better for Drax in October, as it confirmed the acquisition of Scottish Power’s portfolio of pumped storage, hydro and gas-fired generation from Iberdrola.

#4. Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £14.04
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £18.97
Percentage Change: 35.1%

There is no way Jardine would have been on this list if it weren’t for September’s announcement it had accepted a takeover bid, worth £4.9 billion, from Marsh & McLennan.

#3. Evraz PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £3.44
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £4.80
Percentage Change: 39.5%

Though there were plenty of mining wobbles in 2018, as the sector tracked China’s economic slowdown, Evraz managed to beat its peers with a near 40% climb.

#2. Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £11.49
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £18.45
Percentage Change: +60.6%

While Hikma’s 2018 rise has to be put in the context of 2017’s slide, a comeback is a comeback, one fuelled here by ‘improved profitability’ in its Generics and Injectables divisions.

#1. Ocado Group PLC

2nd January 2018 Opening Price: £3.98
19th December 2018 Closing Price: £7.79
Percentage Change: +95.7%

Ocado’s spot at no. 1 is all the more remarkable because, at under £8, it is well off July’s £11.50 all-time highs. Still, that’s nearly double where it began 2018, the stock transformed by the announcement of a deal with American grocery giant Kroger.

This article is brought to you in association with Spreadex. All opinions expressed in this article are from the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Armchair Trader. You can find out more about Spreadex products and services here, or find more articles from Connor Campbell here.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Connor Campbell

Connor Campbell

Connor joined Spreadex in 2014 as part of a newly expanded financial analyst team after graduating from the University of Southampton with an MA in English. His focus is on providing Spreadex's customers with up-to-date and informative news, and is responsible for the market analysis found on the Spreadex website.

Connor produces three daily market updates, a daily stock earnings preview, a weekly financial market preview piece every Friday, a round-up of all the big financial stories making the weekend press every Monday morning and regular stock market features.

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