The absence of a traditional Santa rally on London markets this Christmas sums up the story for beleaguered investors in 2011, particularly during the second half of the year. Twelve months ago analysts were indulging not just in mince pies and Champagne but in speculation that the FTSE 100 would breach 6,000 points by New Year’s Eve. This year, relentless macro pressures have dulled the senses more than the booze – and breaking 5,500 would be an achievement for an index that has spent much of the past five months pinned at that level.

It is unsurprising then that of 2,511 shares listed on LSE markets, only 558 of them are currently trading at higher valuations than they were at the close of 2010. Among that basket, 32 have recorded gains of 100%-plus and the top 10 performers have all enjoyed price rises of more than 200%. At the other end, 1646 stocks lost ground during the course of the year. Of them, 404 lost more than 50% of their value and 26 of those haemorrhaged more than 90%.

As a quick aside, it is worth noting that the top three performers in our list last yearParkmead (LON:PMG), Condor Resources (LON:CNR) and Arian Silver (LON:AGQ) – all achieved their positions after riding a wave of warm investor sentiment and strong market momentum. But could they keep it up? The short answer to that is no. While Parkmead has gone on to start making its promised asset acquisitions, the shares had little chance of sustaining the 32p closing price, despite the presence of ex-Dana Petroleum boss Tom Cross as chairman. It falls from first to 2060, with a 47.1% decline for any investors that were buying the stock on the final day of 2010. Shares in Condor fell by precisely the same percentage, dragging the company down to 1954 on this year’s list. For Arian, whose shares peaked at 53p on the last day of last year, the performance has been worse, with the stock declining by 68.9% through 2011.

For this year’s best performers, bullish sentiment and momentum were replaced by fear and volatility but that didn’t stop top placed Quindell Portfolio (LON:QPP) from driving a 0.5p…

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