These 3 ASX 20 shares are up more than 60% in a year

Which ASX 20 shares have given investors 60% gains in the past year?

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The S&P/ASX 20 Index (ASX: XTL) is certainly not talked about nearly as much as its larger cousin, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO). But with the ASX 20 tracking the 20 largest companies on the ASX, it’s by no means irrelevant.

To prove it, let’s look at 3 ASX 20 shares that are up 60% or more over the past 12 months.

3 ASX 20 shares up 60% or more in the past year

Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL)

Gaming company Aristocrat is our first ASX 20 share that has seen gains of 60% or more over the past 12 months. In Aristocrat’s case, this was $24.48 a share 12 months ago but today the gaming company is trading at $41.92 a share.

That represents a 12-month gain of 72%. Like many hospitality-exposed shares, Aristocrat was hit hard last year by coronavirus lockdowns.

But it has also benefited materially as pubs, casinos and other gaming venues have reopened around the world. Its mid-May earnings update saw investors really step on the gas.

Aristocrat reported a 12% rise in net profits after tax, accompanied by a 6% bump in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)

Yes, Afterpay is an ASX 20 company now, a situation many might have thought impossible a few years ago. And this company did nothing to hurt its prestigious position during the past 12 months. A year ago, Afterpay was still a $71 stock.

But today, the buy now, pay later (BNPL) heavyweight is trading at $118.25 a share. That’s a gain of almost 65%. Robust growth, continuing bullishness from brokers, and a rediscovered affinity for ASX tech shares seem to be contributing factors.

It’s worth noting that Afterpay was hit especially hard in the COVID-induced crash last year, falling as low as $8 a share. As such, its recovery from those lows has proven exceptionally lucrative since.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)

Fortescue has been another top ASX 20 performer over the past 12 months. One year ago, this iron ore miner was trading at just over $15 a share. Today, it is a $24.50 stock.

That represents a gain of 59.5% (close enough to 60%). Returns would have been well over 60% if you include the very robust 10.1% trailing dividend yield of Fortescue shares right now.

So what’s gone so right for Fortescue? Iron ore prices, that’s what.

A year ago, the iron ore price was trading around US$120 a tonne. Today, it’s at the historically high level of US$214 a tonne.

These high prices have made Fortescue a cash flow machine. The company has been paying out record dividends as a result  and have helped make this company a very profitable ASX 20 investment over the past year.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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