High profile FTSE 100 companies have been in the news of late, after it was revealed that female board members at such firms were paid 40% less than their male counterparts last year. 

However, this shouldn’t distract from the importance of the FTSE 100 as a measure of the UK’s top performing brands, or its viability as an investment option for retail and institutional traders throughout the world.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the FTSE 100 index while appraising the five biggest companies at present. 

What’s the Strength of the FTSE 100?

The FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) is essentially a share index that takes into account the performance of the leading 100 companies in the UK.

Previously jointly by the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange (which is where it derives its name from), the FTSE share index is a single points figure that comprises the collective performance of every company included within.

So, even in instances where the share price of one or more FTSE listing falls, it won’t necessarily mean that the index will end the day in the red.

This is where the index draws much of its strength and appeal from, as it’s underpinned by high growth and high performance equities that deliver consistent results and viable returns over time. 

It has also seen its collective points figure increase incrementally since its launch in 1984, rising from slightly above 1,000 to a peak of 7,877.45 on May 22nd, 2018 (although it has since dropped back slightly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic).

The Five Highest Performance Businesses in the FTSE 100

To consider the FTSE in further context, let’s take a glance at the top five listings in real-time. These include:

  • #5. The AstraZeneca: This big-pharma healthcare brand has enjoyed a stellar 2020, having developed one of the first coronavirus vaccines to be approved in the global marketplace. Now ranked fifth on the FTSE 100 having banked $3.144 billion through 2020 and achieved a market cap of £91.2 billion, this asset’s recent growth highlights the relative volatility of indices trading and potential for considerable profits.
  • #4. Rio Tinto: Ranked fourth with a total market cap of £100.1 billion, Rio Tinto is an Anglo-Australian multinational metals and mining corporation that may also be found on the Australian Stock Exchange and ASX index. Last year, the company increased its net income to $10.400 billion, and it continues to offer a viable option for investors across the globe.
  • #3. Royal Dutch Shell: This energy behemoth endured a challenging 2020, as its net income slipped to just $21.5 billion. However, it remains the FTSE’s third-ranked company by way of market cap (£111 billion), while it continues to operate in more than 70 countries across the globe. It also has a number of business niches, including refining, transport, power generation and trading.
  • #2. BHP: Another metals and mining firm, BHP also saw its net income decline marginally to $8.736 billion in 2020. Involved heavily in the international mining and exploration of coal, iron ore, BHP is the second-largest FTSE 100 brand by market cap, which peaked at an impressive £114.8 billion last year.
  • #1. Unilever: You’ll probably be unsurprised to note that Unilever is top of our list, with this consumer and product-oriented brand having seen its net income rise to £6.073 billion despite a slight decline in total operating income. Featuring more than 400 brands under its banner (including Dove, Hellmann’s, Magnum and Surf), the company remains a popular equities option for investors and boasts a current market cap of £152.4 billion. 

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