Important information: The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

IT is a year since Pfizer announced the results from phase 3 trials of its Covid-19 vaccine, offering a path out of the economically-damaging lockdowns that had dominated much of 2020. News this week that Covid booster vaccines can be extended to those aged in their forties, and second jabs approved for those aged 16 and 17 are also positive steps forward.

Since the announcement last year, markets have been every bit as buoyant as hoped, with a much-needed revival in the fortunes of hard-hit sectors such as financials, energy or travel. However, investors have had to do far more than back last year’s losers to navigate the complexities of 2021.

This was characterised as a revival in ‘value’ sectors and those markets with a value tilt. Perhaps the most obvious winner was the UK, with its focus on energy companies, financials and miners, which also received a boost from the Brexit deal.

However, after this initial rally, markets lost their nerve on value. Equally, ‘growth’ areas such as technology have, by and large, continued to do well, with many beating market expectations on revenue growth and profitability. Over the past six months, investors appear to have focused more closely on the reality of a company’s performance. This has been easier to do as the post-pandemic landscape has been clearer.

In this environment, not all of the recovery sectors have been able to keep pace. Other casualties have been found in sectors where investors had extrapolated a long-term trend, only to find it wasn’t as enduring as they had hoped - ecommerce, for example. China struggled because of its regulatory crackdown, but also because expectations had grown too high.

So how have investors fared a year on from the vaccine? Strong performing funds in our Select 50 over the past year include three with a UK focus - Artemis UK Select Fund, Fidelity Special Situations Fund and Jupiter UK Special Situations Fund. Investing further afield, Man GLG Japan CoreAlpha Fund and Schroder US Mid Cap Fund have also performed well over the past year.

It is an eclectic mix. Certainly, there is a light bias to the UK, and to the value approach, but the focus on stockpicking and active management is a more notable theme. If anything, it is funds with some style diversification – that could participate in the early rally, but also in the more nuanced markets of the last six months – that have performed the most strongly.

As the pandemic recedes, markets are starting to move away from a binary ‘value versus growth’ approach. In this environment managers with the toolkit to analyse company performance in depth are likely to thrive.

Important information: Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. Overseas investments will be affected by movements in currency exchange rates. Select 50 is not a personal recommendation to buy or sell a fund. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to a Fidelity adviser or an authorised financial adviser of your choice.

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