For the second year running, capital returns from the Aim 100 have outstripped the other broad London equity indices. A revival in the commodities markets to which it has substantial exposure, and the continuation of some of its disruptive growth stories, helped the alternative market's major index rise 34 per cent in the past 12 months, compared with 18 per cent from the FTSE 100. After income is factored in, Aim's majors delivered a total income of 36 per cent, according to Datastream figures.
All good? Well, not exactly. We tend to stress Aim as a stock-picker's market - by which we mean it's a market of big winners and a lot of losers. If that seems like stating the obvious, compare the performance spread of the FTSE All-Share constituents against those of the Aim All-Share. Over that one-year time horizon, and despite those impressive growth figures, just 56 per cent of Aim constituents were in positive territory, against 76 per cent on the FTSE All-Share.
So there's a fair amount of dross out there. The Aim 100 itself compares better on this broad metric, with 78 of the companies registering share price growth. A second year of outperformance (see chart) provides some ground for those advocating this regulation-light proving ground for the tech, exploration and biotech investment opportunities that might have struggled on the main market.
It is also, more than likely, good news for the readers which rely on Aim's more reliable end for part of their inheritance planning, by making use of tax relief available on certain shares. Unfortunately, as our editor John Hughman highlighted last year, there is no official list of the shares that qualify, but there are plenty of IHT portfolio services out there for interested readers.
In this year's review of the Aim 100, we've afforded some longer analyses for stocks of particular interest. These include newcomer
The strongest riser in this first batch is also joined the market last year.
The biggest faller in the Aim 100 as a whole over the past year is also found in this bottom half -
These stocks demonstrate that sticking with Aim's big guns won't protect an investor, for better or worse, from its swings. But the performance data, and the repetition of many of the names in the list, suggest the Aim 100 companies are gaining trust.