Royal Mail and Entain the big stock market winners in post-pandemic era

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The FTSE 100 is at its highest level since 21 February 2020. On that particular day, the index plunged 247 points as the City got the first serious inkling of the crisis heading its way.


As one might expect, the recovery has seen winners and losers.


Gambling firms and miners figure prominently among the winners while anything to do with aeroplanes has got it in the neck and so, perhaps surprisingly, have housebuilders.


The good fortunes of the gambling firms have been more to do with mergers & acquisitions activity than any great surge in punters doing their cojones out of lockdown boredom.


Entain PLC (LSE:ENT), which owns the Ladbroke and Coral brands, has risen 142% since the Footsie was last at this level, largely because of bid interest from US outfit Draftkings Inc (NASDAQ:DKNG), which has indicated it is willing to pay 2,800p a share to get its hands on the British firm’s online gaming expertise.


Entain is trading just below 2,100p so the market is expecting the bid to fail.


Meanwhile, sector peer Flutter Entertainment PLC (LSE:FLTR), which owns Paddy Power and Betfair, is up 60% since February 2020. It has not received a bid approach but it is regarded as being “in play”, thanks to its stake in FanDuel, a US fantasy sports company valued at around GBP13bn.


The US was incredibly late to the legalised gambling scene and its operators are looking to make up for lost time by buying British and Irish bookies.


As for the miners, Glencore PLC (LSE:GLEN) and Antofagasta PLC (LSE:ANTO), both up 74% since 21 February 2020 battle it out to be the biggest beneficiary of the commodities boom.


Other big winners have been Royal Mail PLC (LSE:RMG), despite its recent fall from favour, and perennial stock market star, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust PLC (LSE:SMT), the investor in rising disruptive technology and biotech companies. The former is up 138% and the latter 122%.


As for the hard-hit aerospace sector, it is little surprise that British Airways owner, International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE:IAG) is the worst performer, down 56%.


Over the same period, Melrose Industries PLC (LSE:MRO, OTC:MLSPF), which owns automotive and aerospace engineer GKN (LSE:GKN), has fallen 39% while sector peer Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LSE:RR.) has shed 35%.


Thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s generosity, Britain’s housing market has remained on fire like a bonfire of insanity throughout the pandemic but that has not stopped the likes of Taylor Wimpey PLC (LSE:TW.) and The Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (LSE:BKG) from taking a bath.


Taylor Wimpey is down by a third over the last 18 months and Berkeley is off by 27%.

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