The engineering sector emerged as the best performer on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in 2020, with a gain of 133 per cent, while the life insurance sector was the worst performer as it wiped off 3.50 per cent of its market capitalisation.
"The price surge of Walton Hi-Tech Industries, the second largest listed company in terms of market cap which entered the market in 2020, helped the engineering sector emerge as the best performer," said a merchant banker.
Walton, which made its trading debut on September 23, 2020, is now the second largest listed company after Grameenphone.
The leading home-grown electronics and appliance manufacturer's market cap stood at Tk 322.34 billion on Wednesday, the last trading session of 2020.
Walton issued each of its primary shares to the public at Tk 252. The price soared to Tk 1,113.80 on Wednesday, registering an increase of 380 per cent from its issue price.
The business growth of Walton and extremely low float of shares made it a hotcake on the bourses, said the merchant banker.
The company offloaded less than 1.0 per cent shares and raised a capital of Tk 1.0 billion under the book-building method.
The general insurance sector came next, with a gain of 97.50 per cent, as prices of almost all the general insurers jumped during the second half of 2020.
More than 72 per cent of non-life insurers saw their profit surge in the July-September 2020 quarter due to commission income for insurers.
According to the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority's latest directive, the insurance companies could no longer pay more than 15 per cent of the premium as commission to their agents.
"Vigilant strategies from the regulator to boost insurance coverage may lead to the continuation of outstanding performance of the insurance sector," commented EBL Securities, in its yearly market analysis.
The miscellaneous sector, which comprises 13 companies, generated a 49.80 per cent return, led by Bangladesh Export Import Company (Beximco) which posted a 329 per cent gain.
The heavyweight telecommunications sector emerged as the fourth highest gainer as it generated 49.60 per cent return, riding on the largest market-cap listed company GP, which soared 23 per cent.
Two other stocks of the sector -- newly listed Robi Axiata and the Bangladesh Submarine Cable -- gained 198 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.
Pharmaceuticals sector also logged a 35.80 per cent return, riding on sector heavyweight stocks like Beximco Pharma, Square Pharma and Orion Pharma.
Beximco Pharma saw a 184 per cent price surge as investors rushed to buy its shares after the signing of a deal with India's Serum Institute on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines for Bangladesh.
The drug marker also generated the highest turnover. Its total turnover stood at Tk 56.55 billion, capturing 4.58 per cent of the DSE's total turnover in 2020.
"The pharmaceutical sector may outperform the market in coming year due to optimism about distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, increasing exports, and growing domestic consumers," said the EBL Securities.
Among others, services & real estate sector registered 44.4 per cent gain, followed by mutual fund with 38.9 per cent, food 32.6 per cent, cement 31.8 per cent, non-banking financial institutions 30.8 per cent, travel & leisure 21.1 per cent, IT 21 per cent, jute 13.7 per cent, power 11.1 per cent, banking 9.7 per cent, paper 8.3 per cent, ceramic 6.9 per cent and textile 6.7 per cent.
Only two sectors -- life insurance and tannery -- saw negative return, losing 3.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.
Fast moving consumers goods companies are likely to register better performance in 2021 due to normalisation of customer spending behaviour, said the EBL Securities.
The stockbroker noted that construction company stocks may see greater return because of resumption of government projects and development activities.
Despite challenges for the financial sector, banking and non-banking sectors with good corporate governance, quality assets portfolio and control over nonperforming loan possibly will surpass peer performers, it added.
The newly listed Associated Oxygen was the year's top gainer stock-wise, posting a 453 per cent return, followed by Zeal Bangla Sugar Mills with 393 per cent, Walton 380 per cent, Asia Insurance 347 per cent, Beximco 329 per cent, Shinepukur Ceramic 305 per cent, Crystal Insurance 294 per cent, Dominage Steel 252 per cent, Express Insurance 251 per cent and Paramount Insurance 227 per cent, according to EBL Securities.
The bullish trend is likely to be prevalent on bourses and 2021 will be a year of opportunities for the capital market owing to rising market confidence and far-reaching policies by the securities regulator to establish a vibrant capital market, said the EBL Securities.