LONDON -- Oh, how the headlines change!
For weeks we've had pronouncements like "FTSE highest for 13 years." And then today, it's suddenly all "FTSE has its worse day in a year!"
Sure, that's factually correct, after the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) dropped 143 points yesterday for a 2.1% fall to 6,697 -- down from that 13-year highest close of 6,840. But after the year it's had, such gloomy headlines are a bit like complaining that your big lottery win is 2% smaller than you had thought it would be!
Over the past 12 months, the index of the U.K.'s biggest public companies has risen by a stunning 25%, even after having fallen further to 6,665 points by midday today. And that's without dividends; there's an average yield of 3% to add to it.
And what of the FTSE's best individual performers?
Look at the size of these!
If you had bought shares in Lloyds Banking Group (LSE:LLOY) a year ago, you'd have more than doubled your money by today. Despite the shares having dropped 5% over the past two days to a current price of 60 pence, they're still up more than 120% as the bailed-out bank eases itself back into profitability.
How about chip designer ARM Holdings (LSE:ARM)? ARM's share price has plunged by a massive 10.7% over the past week to 980 pence as I write. But even after that fall, it has still doubled since this time last year. And the demand for mobile-computer processors escalates year after year, ARM shares have more than 10-bagged since the start of 2009.
Look at budget airline easyJet (LSE:EZJ), which is snapping up landing slots at Gatwick while rivals are feeling the pinch. The share price has fallen 2.7% to 1,250 pence over the past two days. But over the full 12 months, it has provided the biggest gain of the companies we're looking at here, up more than 150%.
And even our humble utilities companies are having a great time of it -- just look at water supplier United Utilities (LSE:UU). It's generally considered a cash cow with dividend yields of close to 5%, but shareholders have also enjoyed a 23% rise in the share price to 787 pence, with the price reaching a five-year high this week.
Worst day of the year? We've never had it so good!
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.