1 ) Bravura Solution Limited (ASX:BVS, +114.49%)
Emerging fintech Bravura Solutions has topped the ASX 200 in terms of performance over the past year, rising by 114.49%. The company supplies a range of financial software solutions, covering superannuation, pension, life insurance, and more. The ASX 200 newcomer delivered strong financial results for FY18, with revenue growing 15% to $221.5m. During the year Bravura Solutions have expanded the client base of their flagship product, the Sonata wealth management platform, securing long-term contracts with Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and Legal & General Investment Management.
2) Afterpay Touch Limited (ASX:APT, +98.08%)
Afterpay Touch, the ‘buy now, pay later’ payments group, had a stellar run in 2018, which has seen the stock rise by 98.08%. This has been driven by strong momentum across the business as earnings leapt fivefold to $33.8m and the number of customers using the service rising from 0.8m to 2.3m over FY18. Some investors may have been excited by the company’s expansion into the US in mid-May 2018, which has an online fashion market that’s approximately 20 times larger than Australia. Afterpay also recently acquired 90% of ClearPay Finance, a UK-based ‘buy now, pay later’ business, to accelerate and potentially de-risk its entry into the UK market. 2018 wasn’t all good news for Afterpay, as shares fell sharply in October 2018 following news of a Senate inquiry into financial services not included in the banking royal commission, such as payday lenders and ‘buy now, pay later’ services.
3) Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR, +68.88%)
Shares in mineral exploration and development company Saracen Mineral Holdings surged over 68% in the past 12 months. The company focuses on gold mining, particularly in the North Eastern Kalgoorlie Goldfields of Western Australia, and delivered strong FY18 results with net profit rocketing 166% higher to $76m and gold production reaching a record 316,453 ounces. Saracen management expects this outstanding run to continue, with its gold production set to increase to between 325,000 and 345,000 ounces in FY19.
4) Altium Limited (ASX:ALU, +65.4%)
Altium Limited, the electronic printed circuit board design software company, has been another high-flying technology darling on the local market. The stock closed up more than 65% after the company reported record revenue growth of 26% and earnings per share growth of 33%. Altium may have benefited from the depreciation in the Australian dollar as a significant amount of its revenues come from international markets, with some of the biggest companies in the world using Altium’s products including Microsoft, Amazon and Google. Altium may have also benefited from the rise of the internet of things (IoT), a global trend which refers to the interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday objectives via the internet.
5) IDP Education Limited (ASX:IEL, +59.19%)
IDP Education has seen its share price rise by just over 59% in 2018. This international education organisation offers student placements both domestically and internationally, and also has an ownership stake in the English language test IELTS, which is used by the Australian government for migration assessments. IDP has benefited from the growing demand for international education and the rise of English as a global language. In its FY18 financial results, IDP cited the Indian market as a major growth area, highlighting a 60% increase in student placement volumes and a 58% increase in IELTS volumes.
6) Appen Limited (ASX:APX, +53.47%)
Language and search data services company Appen Limited has seen its stock jump 53.47% following a bumper year for the business. Appen provides nine of the top ten global technology companies with the data necessary to develop machine learning algorithms and improve their search functions. Off the back of unprecedented demand for its services, its revenue soared by 106% to $152.8m in the first half of 2018. In November 2018 Appen released improved FY2018 earning forecasts, which were driven by a sharp increase in its monthly revenues.
7) Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST, +48.79%)
Gold producer Northern Star has had a strong run over the past 12 months, with its share price up by 48.79%. The company reported a net profit of $194m, up 3% on FY17 and gold production was up 11% from FY2017 to 575 121 ounces. At the beginning of September 2018, Northern Star prices rose following its acquisition of the high-grade 4,1Moz Pogo gold mine in Alaska. Northern Star may have benefited from increasing gold prices, which ended 2018 on a high.
8) Xero Limited (ASX:XRO, +48.22%)
Off the back of a year of continued strong subscriber growth, cloud accounting company Xero has had a particularly good year with their share price increasing by 48.22%. While Xero is yet to turn a profit, the company reported a positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and a 60% reduction in the company’s net loss from -$69.1m to -$27.8m in its FY18 earnings release. The FY19 outlook issued by management was upbeat with a continued focus on growing Xero’s global small business platform.
The table below displays a snapshot of online share trading platforms on Canstar’s database for ‘casual investors’. Please note that these results are based on an average of 2 trades per month, are ordered by star rating and then by providers’ name alphabetically. Before investing, check upfront with your provider and read the PDS to confirm whether it meets your needs.
9) ResMed Inc. (ASX:RMD, +47.00%)
It’s been a massive year for medical equipment company ResMed, whith its share price is up 47%. In FY18 ResMed reported a 13% lift in revenue from FY17, which they attribute to an increase in unit sales of their devices, masks and accessories. While the company largely focuses on manufacturing devices to treat sleep-disordered breathing, it has acquired a number of medical software companies in the past few years, including HEALTHCAREfirst in May 2018, Matrix Care in November 2018 and Propeller Health in December 2018.
10) The a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M, +37.6%)
The a2 Milk Company may have been a beneficiary of the rise in demand for Australian baby formula and dairy products in overseas markets, with its share price up 37.6% in 2018. Delivering strong financial results in FY2018, a2 Milk increased their revenue by 68% to $923m. This has been driven by strong momentum in overseas markets, particularly China and the USA. a2 Milk products are available in 10,000 stores in China and 6,000 in the USA. a2 Milk seems to have discovered the formula for success in Chinese and other Asian markets, where revenue grew by 163% to $233.6m in FY18. a2 Milk has benefited from the rise of the middle class in china, a trend that has increased demand for safe and nutritious food including infant formula. At home, the company continues to grow in popularity, achieving a 32% brand share in infant nutrition in FY18.
Thinking of investing?
The past year has seen a number of stocks boom and reach new heights, which can be quite alluring for some investors. However, it is always best to do your research and bear in mind that past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Check out our article on how to pick stocks.
Figures correct as of 09/01/2019 and taken from ASX.