Top 3 ASX 200 stocks of 2019

As we move into 2020, we take a brief look at some of the top performing stocks on the ASX 200 during 2019.

ASX 200: the year that was

The year started off with a lull.

After all, markets around the globe came off their multi-year highs during the back-end of 2018. The ASX 200 dropped over 800 points from August to December 2018: Investors, speculators and traders thought the sky was falling.

2019 quickly erased such apocalyptic fears however: the ASX 200 rose more than 1200 points – or 22% – from January to December. The S&P 500 index did even better, gaining 29% – or 500 points.

In retrospect, the sky had done anything but fall, and those who sat on the sidelines likely missed out on some big moves. With that in mind, below we take a brief look at the three best performing ASX 200 stocks from 2019.

Avita Medical share price: +702%

It was a big year for Avita Medical (ASX: AVH), as the skin regeneration focused biotechnology company hit a number of key milestones.

Potentially explaining the 702% run up in Avita’s share price, the company achieved a nationwide North American launch in January 2019, recorded US sales of $10.8m (as of September 3) and received FDA approval for a ‘pivotal soft-tissue repair/trauma clinical trial.’

The company also saw its American depositary receipts commence trading on the NASDAQ, another milestone for the company.

Polynovo share price: +233%

Another ASX-listed biotech looking to radically improve the lives of people experiencing trauma, Polynovo’s cornerstone regenerative dermal product – NovoSorb BTM – has a variety of use cases across the medical space, including assisting with trauma, burns, the revision of scars and pressure injuries, among other uses.

Looking at near-term catalysts, Polynovo (ASX: PNV) was recently granted a certificate of conformance which allows the company to sell its cornerstone product in the UK, Ireland and the European Union. The Polynovo share price rose 27% on that news alone.

The market was also potentially impressed by the company’s current growth profile. As we previously wrote:

‘In the first-half of FY19 the company's sales came in at $3.7m. By the end of FY19, they had risen significantly, hitting $9.3m.’

Finally, looking towards another milestone, the company noted during its AGM that:

'With good profit margins and growing sales, we have good cash flow and a declining cash burn. We have previously stated that we will break even this year and we are close to that objective.'

EML Payments share price: +221%

Impressive top and bottom-line figures potentially underscore the tripling of EML Payment’s meteoritic share price rise during CY19.

Specifically, during the 2019 fiscal year EML Payments (ASX: EML) saw its Group GDV hit $9.03bn (+34%), its revenue reach $97.2m (+37%) and group earnings (EBITDA) hit $29.1m (+40%).

Investors may have also been drawn to the fact that a significant 87% of EML’s sales revenue was generated from recurring revenue streams.

With a market cap now in excess of $1.5bn, EML Payments was added to the ASX 200 just recently, replacing the now de-listed Bellamys, in the blue-chip index, on December 5.

Fortescue Metals Group and Magellan Financial Group were the next best performing stocks on the ASX 200 during CY19, rising 159% and 151%, respectively.

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