Piazza Affari, record-breaking 2023. The stocks that earned the most

2023 has proven to be an exceptional year for the Italian stock market, highlighted by a notable 28% increase in the Ftse Mib. This performance exceeded both the performance of the S&P 500 index (+25%) and the average of the main European stock exchanges, with the Eurostoxx 50 recording an increase of 19%. The Italian blue chip index reached the significant threshold of 30,000 points, thus marking its highest since 2008 and closing the year at 30,3151 points.

Piazza Affari closes a record 2023

Among the leading stocks, the banking sector particularly shone, with Unicredit in first position with a notable increase of 85%, followed by Leonardo (+82%) e Stellantis (+60%). Also MPS Bank (+58%) e Telecom Italia (+39%) showed a recovery, placing themselves in tenth place respectively in the ranking of the 40 large Italian companies.

However, five stocks disappointed investors, showing negative trends: Italgas (-0.29%), Erg (-1.1%), Tenaris (-1.93%), FinecoBank (-13.66%), and at the bottom of the ranking Diasorin (-29%), once very popular during the pandemic.

Il Sole 24 Ore explains that large Italian companies have outperformed European competition during 2023. While the Cac 40 in Paris grew by 15%, and the Dax 40 in Frankfurt, although it reached historic highs, recorded a lower increase (+21%) in percentage terms. Among the main global indices, the Ftse Mib ranks second only behind the technological Nasdaq 100 (+44%). Even Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, recovering strongly thanks to the expansionary policy of the Bank of Japan, is placed just behind the Ftse Mib with an increase of 27%.

2023 was an exceptional year, in which, in addition to the generous dividend distribution policy (an international attraction point for the Italian stock market), large Italian companies have demonstrated a certain modernity. This is also highlighted by the promotion of buybacks (the repurchase of own shares), a practice long followed on Wall Street and appreciated by many investors, also for tax reasons. Many Italian companies, including Unicredit, Stellantis, Bpm, Bper, Erg, Eni and Enel, have been particularly active in this strategy.

Despite the exceptional performance of the year, Il Sole 24 Ore highlights that the multiple at which Italian shares are currently valued (13 times expected earnings for 2024) still remains relatively low and, in a certain way, attractive. However, the future will greatly depend on the performance of the economy and the ability of listed companies to deliver on their promises, as predicted by analysts who expect further earnings increases in the next 12 months.

It will be a difficult challenge to exceed these estimates, especially for banks, considering the market expectations of six rate cuts from the European Central Bank (ECB).

The winning stocks of 2023 that could rise further in 2024

Among the many titles that rose to prominence in 2023, there are several that could remain on the crest of the wave in 2024 too. As Uber, which with its expansion into new markets and continued service innovation, including a focus on electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology, positions it favorably for growth. But also the stellar performance of Blackstoneone of the world’s largest financial firms, was buoyed in 2023 by the strength of its alternative asset management business amid a robust investment landscape.

In 2023 it was also reborn Expedia, led by the gradual recovery of the travel sector as pandemic-related restrictions ease. The stock has surged into 2023, with a 75% year-over-year gain, easily outperforming the broader market over the same time frame.