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Not a definitive guide to the biggest risers of the year, but a brief recap of some of the stocks that helped define 2021.

The broad market returned handsome gains in 2021, with major indices up in the range of 10-25%. In the US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq outperformed the Dow and Russell 2000, whilst in Europe the CAC delivered twice the returns of the DAX or FTSE 100.

Here’s a quick glance at four stocks – all US – that were among the standout performers of the last year.

2021 top stocks


The vaccine maker’s stock rose in tandem with the spread of the Delta variant – more virulence means more jabs required. By the end of the year the stock was well off its highs but still up 113% for the year.

Analyst recommendations for MRNA

Moderna Analyst consensus


Back in bear market territory by December as Elon Musk sold off billions of dollars’ worth of stock, shares in Tesla nevertheless enjoyed a strong 2021, up close to 50% this year. Next year brings more uncertainty – can it continue to ramp sales as competition from the old guard of automotive giants heats up?

Analyst recommendations for TSLA

Tesla Analyst consensus


GameStop was the darling of the Reddit crowd back, defining the year’s incredible meme stock craze and a revolution in the way retail traders approach the stock market. Retail traders and investors are accounting for more and more volume in the stock market, and that is shifting the way some stocks get valued. Ok, it’s nowhere near the giddy options-induced heights of Jan and Feb, but it’s still up over 800% in 2021.

Analyst recommendations for GME

GameStop Analyst consensus


Not quite a $3tn company yet, but Apple has really delivered spectacular gains for a company of this size and maturity. A 33% rally over the year does not make it one of the top stocks of 2021 – I can find 20 stocks on the FTSE 100 that have returned more – but Apple delivers credit for delivering hefty returns from such a high base. Next year could bring more surprises from the world’s largest company by market cap.

Analyst recommendations for AAPL

Apple Analyst conesus

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