To generate this list, we’ve aggregated trending stock information from some of the UK’s leading investment platforms and news sites.
Top 10 shares being bought today
What could be the best shares to buy in 2021?
If 2020 showed us anything, it was that there are always surprises and opportunities in the stock market. The COVID-19 impact rocked the stock market in March, and the subsequent rally made some people a lot of money.
Stocks like Zoom, Tesla, Ocado, Pfizer, Peloton and Gamestop all skyrocketed at various points throughout the year due to the impacts of working from home, pent-up savings demand, and even just good old social media hype.
2021 is already off to a flying start, with the S&P 500 reaching an all time high one year on from the COVID crash. But market volatility looks here to stay, and while the return to ‘normal’ is expected in 2021, the only certainty is that there will be twists and turns along the way.
Many people are trying to pre-empt the stocks which will benefit from a world economy getting back on track. Choosing the right stocks to buy now is the million pound question, however.
Here’s a look at the FTSE All-World Fund (VWRL), which can give us an almost bird’s eye view of the world’s stocks. This fund holds over 3,000 of the biggest publicly traded companies from dozens of countries, from Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to Alibaba, Tencent and Samsung. As you can see from the chart, since the crash in March 2020, it’s been a fairly strong recovery.
Now the question is how do you pick the best performers from the bunch and outperform the market.
How do you decide which shares are the best?
If this question was easy to answer, we’d all be rich! (Or to put it another way, none of use would be…)
Actively picking stocks is a difficult job. People pay hedge fund managers the big bucks to do exactly that, and even they come unstuck pretty often.
The premise which underpins picking stocks is this: “the market has mis-priced these stocks, and I’m going to pick up a bargain and make a profit when the market eventually realises this stock worth more.”
Just be aware that that is what you’re saying when you pick stocks. You’re saying that you know something that the market doesn’t.
Here are a few ways you can choose good shares to buy.
Keep an eye on the trends
You’re going to want to stay abreast of the latest market news and opinions.
Financial news sites like Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and even Finder.com/uk can help you stay on top of the latest trends and expert views.
Increasingly, social media is also great source of financial insight – you just need to make sure you’re following trustworthy accounts who have knowledge and experience under their belts rather than get-rich-quick grifters (remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!)
Generally speaking, keeping an eye on the trending stocks is good way to spot opportunities. It’s also a good idea to keep on top of why these stocks are trending – what’s happened with the company lately that might be spurring people to buy or sell their stocks? That’s why we’ve put together the table above.
Traders who keep an eye on the news might be classed as “momentum investors” – people who like to capitalise on the continuance of a trend.
Fundamental analysis is a method of quantifying the “intrinsic“ value of a stock. The intrinsic value can be thought of as the “true” value of a stock, and the market value is the price it’s currently trading at.
As mentioned above, traders are looking for a mismatch between the intrinsic and market value of a stock hoping to make a profit by buying a stock for less than it’s worth, or shorting a stock it believes is overpriced.
Analysts can look at the “fundamentals” of a business to determine value, including things such as a company’s revenue, cashflow, growth rate and future projects planned.
On top of that, fundamental analysts will also look at the industry surrounding a business, to contextualise a stock and work out how it might perform within its industry, and how that industry might perform within the wider economy.
All of that is pretty difficult stuff for the average person to do, and that’s why big financial institutions like JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs hire the smartest talent to do it. These analysts have access to the best information, the best software and tools, and operate within an experienced team of talented and intelligent people from universities like Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge.
The good news for regular investors is that we can read analyst reports on stocks, which condense all of this research into a summary which you can find commentary on through most financial news sites.
Analysts will also come up with a “target price” which they believe reflects the true value arrived at through their analysis. This can be a good guide for regular investors looking at individual stocks.
Just keep in mind that when you’re picking stocks you’re going up against the big guns mentioned above, and that everyone else has access to the same information as you.
In contrast to fundamental analysis, you have technical analysis. This is what you’re likely to see on social media, with traders showing you screenshots of complicated looking charts with lots of crazy lines on them.
Technical analysis is a discipline used to identify trading opportunities through use of statistics and trends gathered by looking at trading activities – who’s buying, how much are people buying, how much is the price moving, and lots more similar questions.
Technical analysts believe past trading activity can help predict future price movements, and that they can use this information to get an edge over the market and make a profit.
In short, it’s tricky
There’s a reason the world of investing attracts high earning people. It’s a very hard and very valuable thing to do, as there’s a lot of money at stake.
Both technical and fundamental analysts do what they do because they’re hoping to find a stock which is “underpriced” by the wider market. If they’re confident in their assessment, they can find what they believe is a cheap stock to buy, and make a gain as the price rises.
But, increasingly, anyone can get involved. The Gamestop frenzy in early 2021 showed that even the retail investor can give the institutional investors a run for their money. If you’re new to investing or trading and want to give it a shot – go for it.
Remember the golden rules: don’t invest more than you can afford to lose, and remember that your investments can go down as well as up.
What are the best shares to buy for beginners?
If you’re just looking to dip your toe into the choppy waters of investing, then it’s best to start off in the shallow end.
Total beginners may want to consider picking a platform which manages all the investments for you, typically called robo-advisors, or take a look at index funds (a literal index of all the biggest companies in a given industry, country, or region. The VWRL example mentioned at the top of this page is an example of an index fund). These are considered a less risky way to start investing, as an index fund bundles together 100s or even 1000s of strong companies, diversifying the risk between them and making the failure of one less of a problem for the person doing the investing.
But if you’re dead set on picking stocks for yourself and this is your first time doing so, the golden rule is to not invest more than you’re willing to lose. An individual stock can drop 10%, 20%, or 50%, or could crash to zero, so imagine that happening with the money you’re investing before you put any money in. A good rule of thumb: if a 20% crash will give you sleepless nights, you’re too heavily invested.
Remember, there are absolutely no guarantees with any stock or investing strategy. So make sure you’re doing your research into a stock, regardless of how established the company is.
How to buy shares now
- Choose a platform. If you’re a beginner, our share-dealing table below can help you choose.
- Open your account. You’ll need your ID, bank details and national insurance number.
- Confirm your payment details. You’ll need to fund your account with a bank transfer, debit card or credit card.
- Search the platform for stock code: You can check out the table above for some inspiration
- Research your chosen shares. The platform should provide the latest information available.
- Buy your chosen shares. It’s that simple.
The whole process can take as little as 15 minutes.
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