Best Shares to Buy Now in the UK 2024

UK-based investors have access to thousands of shares to invest in, in UK and international stock markets alike. This presents many opportunities to build a diversified portfolio, covering the shares of growth, undervalued, dividend, and blue-chip companies.

In this guide, we reveal the 10 best shares to buy now. Read on to discover which shares represent the best long-term investments for growth and dividends.

The 10 Best Shares to Buy Today in the UK

Listed below are the 10 best shares to buy now as a U.K. investor:

  1. Amazon: Overall, Amazon is the best stock to buy now in the UK. This e-commerce and cloud computing giant with its AWS arm consistently outperforms the market. Its shares are up nearly 90% in the past year.
  2. 888 Holdings: This UK-listed company owns the 888sport and 888 casino brands, and betting site William Hill. With a modest market cap of just over £562 million, this growth stock offers plenty of long-term upside.
  3. Apple: With a market cap of close to $3 trillion, Apple is the second most valuable company globally, with a popular product  portfolio. Had you bought Apple shares five years ago, you’d be looking at growth of 275%.
  4. Rolls-Royce: The UK-based aerospace and defense company is the world’s second largest aircraft engine manufacturer. The stock trades on the London Stock Exchange, and has gained 150% over the past year.
  5. HSBC: With interest rates still at multi-decade highs, banking stocks are popular now because higher rates drive revenue growth from lending. With a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 6.79, it’s trading at attractive levels.
  6. Meta Platforms: Facebook and Instagram’s parent makes most of its revenue from selling ads and it’s expected to hugely benefit from the big artificial intelligence trend by targeted ads based on user preferences.
  7. Coca-Cola: The large-cap soft-drink company has one of the world’s most recognizable brands. It has increased its dividend for 67 straight years, making it one of the best dividend stocks for income-focused investors. 
  8. Arm Holdings: The shares of the Nasdaq-listed British chip and software designer, which went public as recently as September 2023, have gained 120% since its IPO. It benefits from AI-driven demand. 
  9. easyJet: This resilient airline was in dire straits during the COVID-19 pandemic. After restructuring its debt, it appears to be back on track. Its shares are still trading at less than half of their pre-pandemic levels.
  10. Tesla: The shares of the No.2 electric-car maker has increased 900% in the past five years, and are up more than 15,500% since its 2010 IPO. It also offer autopilot subscriptions, solar panel tiles, and even carbon credits.

All of the shares listed above can be purchased with Altindex.

A Closer Look at the Best Stocks to Invest in for UK Investors

Let’s take an in-depth look at the 10 best shares to buy in the UK and elsewhere:

1. Amazon – Overall Best Stock to Invest in for Long-Term Gains

One of the best stocks to buy now is Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer by market cap, which has a diversified business, and also dominates the market for cloud services with its Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is already Amazon’s most profitable business, contributing more than 70% to the e-commerce giant’s profit, but only accounting for about 14% of its revenue.

Amazon price chartAmazon is also infusing its products and services with generative AI technology, with AWS at the forefront and the business as a whole is expected to benefit from AI. Amazon continues to diversify its business model and is now involved in many other niches and markets. For instance, it operates an online pharmacy for US residents, which could be one of Amazon’s biggest divisions in the coming years. In addition, its has launched an online and physical grocery store, which continues to increase sales each quarter.

In its most recent quarter ended in March, Revenue rose 13% year over year to $143.3 billion. AWS’s revenue climbed 17% to $25 billion. Net income more than tripled to $10.43 billion, or $0.98, from $3.17 billion, or $0.31 a year earlier. Both revenue and profit topped, Wall Street expectations, and AWS’s revenue was also higher than anticipated by analysts. 

The company has never paid a dividend – it prefers to reinvest its profits, promoting continuous growth. With one of the strongest balance sheets globally, and almost $87 billion in cash and short-term investments, there is no concern about its ability to fund its ambitious investment plans.

Amazon remains one of the most bought and sold shares with UK investors. Its share price is up more than 70% in the past year, and Wall Street analysts maintain an average price target of $220 for the next 12 months, 20% above the current price. Sell-side analysts are super bullish on Amazon. Out of 58 analysts in the past 90 days, 56 rate Amazon a ‘Strong Buy’ or a ‘Buy’.

Amazon Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NASDAQ: AMZN $1.97 trillion 70% 53 N/A

2. 888 Holdings – Gambling Stock for Value Investors 

Betting and gaming giant 888 Holdings is one of the best shares for value investors. Founded in 1997, it’s behind the 888sport and 888casino brands, and also owns William Hill since July 2022. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, 888 Holdings shares are up over 25.34% in the past year. The UK’s benchmark stock index slipped 3.3% over the same period, and Entain, a competitor is down 33%.

888 price chart

The shares currently trade 80% lower then a record high 458 British pence they touched in September 2021. With its small market capitalization of just $562 million, it may be able to match the average sell-side analyst forecasts of 163 pence for its price in the next 12 month, an 88% upside.

In its most recent quarter, revenue fell 7% to £424 million from the same quarter a year earlier, according to its trading update. The reason was that the UK and some other countries tightened gambling measures and the company actively moved away from some forms of online betting it called “dotcoms.” Revenue rose 5% from the third quarter. What bodes well for future revenue growth, though, was a 5% increase in the company’s active customer base in the quarter from a year earlier.

The betting firm expects to report adjusted EBITDA margin for the whole of 2023 to be about 18%, in line with the previously indicated range of 18-19%. It has not yet disclosed other profit figures for 2023. To improve profitability, 888 aims to implement cost savings of £150 million during 2024. The company currently doesn’t pay a dividend, but once it strengthens its profitability, analysts expect it to revisit its dividend program.

888 Holdings Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
LON: 888 £389.4 million 25.34% 6.5 N/A

3. Apple – Outstanding Tech Player With 5-Year Gains of Nearly 300%

Apple is one of the most recognizable brands globally, and one of the “Magnificent Seven” technology titans that have led the AI-driven rally. Apple became the first ever company to surpass the $3 trillion market cap threshold. Its share price has retreated since touching a record in December 2023, though, and Microsoft has dethroned it as the world’s most valuable company in early 2024. 

Apple price chart

Its brand value, product portfolio that includes popular consumer products, such as the iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac computers, a loyal customer following, and an innovative drive, however, bode well for its future share price performance. Apple remains one of the fastest-growing tech shares to buy. Wall Street analysts on average maintain a ‘Buy’ recommendation for the stock. 

It continues to monetize its active base of 2.2 billion devices by selling subscriptions, advertising, and payment services. These are part of the iPhone maker’s growing services business, which generated a record $23.9 billion in revenue in its fiscal second quarter. Its total revenue fell 4% to $90.8 billion, and net income shrank 2.2% to $23.64 billion, topping Wall Street expectations. Apple also pays a decent dividend, with a yield of 0.54%. It raised its dividend this year for a 12th consecutive year, by 4% to $0.25, and to return more money to investors, it said it plans to buy back $110 billion worth of its own shares.

The best news yet is that the global smartphone market is recovering from a slump, which has concerned investors, and Apple overtook rival Samsung for global smartphone shipments in 2023, according to both IDC and Canalys. In terms of its share price, Apple shares have grown 275% in the past five years, while Samsung has risen by 60%, over the same period.

Apple Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NASDAQ: AAPL $2.83 trillion 6% 28.64 0.54%

4. Rolls-Royce – Best Share for Potential Earnings Surprises

Rolls-Royce’s roots reach back to a carmaker formed in 1904. While many people still think Rolls-Royce makes cars, that’s not the case. Rolls-Royce today is the world’s second largest aircraft engine manufacturer with a market cap of £27.5 billion ($37.7 billion). And Rolls-Royce luxury cars are made by BMW. 

Rolls-Royce price chart

Rolls-Royce engines power more than 35 types of commercial aircraft, and it’s also a major engine maker for the military transport market and the second largest provider of defense aero-engine products and services globally. It also makes safety mechanisms for the air, land, and sea, as well.

Currently priced at 375 British pence the stock trades on the London Stock Exchange, and has gained 153% over the past year. The share price gains have been driven by Tufan Erginbilgic, who has been at the helm as CEO for barely a year, transforming the company and lifting his earnings predictions. In December, Rolls-Royce said it sees underlying operating profit increasing to £2.5 billion to £2.8 billion by 2027 from £0.5 billion in 2022. Analysts on average expect the price to rise to 403 pence in 12 months. The average analyst recommendation on the stock is ‘Buy’. 

In the fourth quarter, revenue rose 13.2% from a year earlier to £4.48 billion and net income was up 315% to £591 million. Full-year underlying operating profit, its preferred metric, more than doubled to £1.6 billion in 2023, from £652 million in 2022. The shares trade at an attractive P/E ratio of 13.04. The company hasn’t resumed dividend payments, though, that it suspended during the pandemic.

Rolls-Royce Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
LON: RR £31.35 153% 13.04 N/A

5. HSBC – Best Banking Share for Revenue Generation and Dividend

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is one of the best UK financial shares to invest in to capitalize on decade-high interest rates before central banks begin to cut them. Banks like HSBC can charge more for lending, leading to higher margins and net profits. This is good news for HSBC investors, considering the UK banking industry has been in turmoil since the 2008 financial crisis. Now could be a good time to enter the market, especially considering HSBC’s recent performance.

HSBC price chart

For 2023, HSBC posted a record pre-tax profit, a better profit measure for banks than net income, of $30.3 billion, which was 78% higher than a year earlier. Yet, the result missed analysts expectations and weighed on the share price on the day the earnings were released. Revenue rose 30% to $66.1 billion, helped by the high interest rate environment globally. 

In addition, HSBC is also one of the best shares for dividends and other shareholder returns. HSBC is offering an annual dividend yield of 7.85%. When releasing full-year earnings, the bank said it will add up to $2 billion to its share buybacks, aiming to complete it before the next quarterly earnings report. HSBC also said it would consider offering a special dividend of $0.21 per share in the first half of 2024 after it completes the sale of a unit in Canada.

With the highest full-year dividend per share since 2008 and three share buy-backs in 2023 totaling $7 billion, CEO Noel Quinn said the bank returned $19 billion to shareholders last year. HSBC shares are also trading at an attractive P/E ratio of 6.76 times. With interest rates likely remaining high for a while at least, HSBC offers considerable value.

HSBC Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
LON: HSBA £117 billion  -1% 6.76 7.85%

6. Meta Platforms – Social Media Giant With 1-Year Price Growth of 178%

Meta Platforms is the world’s largest and most dominant social media company. It owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and now Threads, which is aiming to chip away at X’s (formerly Twitter) market share. Almost 3.6 billion people, which means that more than 77% of global internet users, use at least one Meta Platforms network every day.

Meta price chart

The vast majority of Meta Platform’s revenue comes from advertising, as it leverages the data it holds on its users. This enables Meta Platforms to offer highly targeted ad campaigns. The stock should benefit from Statista’s forecast that ad spending on social media will grow to $262 billion by 2028 from about $146 billion in 2023. 

That said, Meta Platforms is also diversifying into other areas. This includes virtual and augmented reality, with Meta Platforms buying Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. However, delighting investors, CEO Mark Zuckerberg costly “metaverse” project is finally cooling down. Instead, it’s positioning itself as a leader in artificial intelligence. The company has been busy rolling out AI-powered tools to increase engagement on its apps and for advertisers to see better results. Investors have rewarded Meta and the share price is up 188% over the past year. 

Earnings have improved too. In the fourth quarter, the company had revenue of $40.11 billion, up 25% from a year earlier, and tripled its profit to $5.33 per share. This makes Meta one of the best shares to buy for recent performance. And with the current P/E ratio of 32.27 16% below the historical average, they can be purchased at attractive valuations.

Meta Platforms Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NASDAQ: META £1.28 trillion  188% 32.27 0.42%

7. Coca-Cola – Income Stock With 61 Straight Years of Dividend Raises 

For income-focused investors, beverage company Coca-Cola is one of the best shares to buy. Coca-Cola is a Dividend King part of the elite group of companies that have raised their dividend for more than half a century. Coca-Cola raised its payout for 61 consecutive years even in recessions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coca-Cola price chart

Coca-Cola really is a dividend stock that can be relied on. The dividend yield stands at 3.13%. While not the highest yield available, there’s no reason to believe that Coca-Cola’s dividend increases will stop any time soon.

In terms of growth, Coca-Cola continues to offer steady returns. Over the prior five years, Coca-Cola shares have increased by 32% in the past five years. The 5-year total return is 53.34%, meaning a $100 investment five years ago would be worth $153.34 today. Total return includes price appreciation as well as reinvesting any dividends.

In 2023, Coca Cola weathered the slowdown in the consumer sector caused by higher inflation and as demand for its beverages was higher, despite raising prices by 10% on average. Net revenue rose 6% during the year to $45.8 billion. Full-year net income rose 12% to $10.7 billion, or $2.48 a share.

Its P/E ratio stands at 24.07 times, roughly in line with the S&P 500 consumer staples sector, which is 22.88 times. 

Coca-Cola Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NYSE: KO $257 billion  -0.32 24.07 3.3%

8. Arm Holdings – Chip Designer Nvidia Attempted to Buy 

The shares of the UK semiconductor and software designer, which went public as recently as September 2023, have gained 120% since its IPO on the Nasdaq, benefiting from the AI-driven stock-market boom. The Cambridge, England-based company, whose biggest shareholder is Japan’s Softbank, creates the chip architecture that powers every smartphone, tablet and smart TV.

Arm price chart

Its more than 500 clients include Apple, Samsungs and Google. Semiconductor giant and AI poster child Nvidia had planned to acquire Arm last year but the $40 billion deal collapsed, due to regulatory hurdles. The two agreed to maintain a close partnership after the transaction fell through. Nvidia later disclosed a $147.3 million stake in Arm. 

While its share price has been boosted by contagion from Nvidia’s phenomenal rise, Arm’s own AI-credentials are not that straightforward. In its most recent quarter, revenue increased 14% from a year earlier to $824 million, and adjusted earnings per share rose to $0.29, from $0.22 cents a year earlier. 

That said, Arm cited anticipated AI demand when it raised its full-year revenue forecast by 5% at the midpoint of its guidance and its estimate for adjusted EPS by 16%. So, investors will be looking out for the evidence of the AI-effect in upcoming earnings reports. At the moment valuations appear stretched with a P/E ratio of 92, compared with Nvidia’s multiple of 33. 

Arm Holdings Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NASDAQ: ARM $146 billion  123% 92 N/A

9. easyJet – Undervalued Growth Stock 63% Below Its Pre-pandemic High 

We view easyJet as one of the best shares to buy in the aviation industry, mostly from a valuation standpoint. The UK-based airline’s shares jumped 90% during 2023, and have gained a further 9% this year. However, they still trade at a 63% discount to their pre-pandemic high of 1490 pence.

easyJet price chart

The UK airline was hit particularly hard during the pandemic, with its fleet grounded for many months, and at one point, there were concerns about a potential bankruptcy. However, it managed to secure financing and stayed afloat. EasyJet appears to have turned its fortunes around.

After returning to profit in its fiscal full year ended in September, it produced a decent set of results in its fiscal first quarter. Passenger numbers increased to 19.8 million from 17.5 million a year earlier and total revenue rose 22% to £1.8 billion. The holiday business was its best performing unit, with revenue jumping 95% to £181 million and customer growth of 48%. That unit also more than doubled its profit to £30 million from £13 million.

The airline forecasts 35% growth in its holidays business in 2024. The share price appears cheap at 12 times earnings, which is lower than the historical average, and the return of dividends last November and news about brisk summer bookings are likely to drive the share price higher.

easyJet Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
LON: EZJ £4.19 billion  13% 12.87 0.81%

10. Tesla – Invest in Mobility With the World’s Most Valuable Carmaker 

While Tesla was founded as recently as 2003, it’s already the world’s largest carmaker by market value. At $635 billion, its market capitalization is larger than the majority of US carmakers combined, including Ford and General Motors. As an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, Tesla is bound to benefit from changing attitudes towards sustainability.

Tesla price chart

The electric-car maker also sells a monthly subscription service that allows drivers to activate their autopilot feature, solar panel tiles and megawatt batteries that power entire factories.

Tesla shares have soared in the past five years, rising 970%. In the past year, they have gained just 6.16%. For comparison, Volkswagen shares fell 7.35% in the past 12 months and 19% in the past five years. Ford Motors shares slid 0.8% in the past year and gained just 48% in the past five.

Tesla’s most recent earnings report, however, pointed to a slowdown in sales and squeezed margins due to tougher competition and softer demand. In the fourth quarter, revenue rose 3% to $25.17 billion, at the slowest pace in more than three years, and missed Wall Street estimates. Sales growth might pick up over time as Tesla prepares to start making a new model next year. 

Gross margin shrank more than expected in the quarter to 17.6% from 23.8% a year earlier. Yet, net income more than doubled from the previous year to $7.9 billion, including a $5.9 billion one-time gain. 

HSBC Market Cap One-year Price Change P/E Ratio Dividend Yield
NASDAQ: TSLA £635 billion  6.16% 6.76 7.85%

Potential Benefits of Investing in Stocks

If you’re new to investing in the stock market, we’ll now discuss some of the benefits of buying shares in 2024.

1. Build Long-Term Wealth

Stock investing is a long-term project. By regularly investing in the markets, you have the potential to build long-term wealth, for example, for your retired years. After all, you won’t make much by keeping your money in a savings account.

For example, the S&P 500, which tracks 500 large companies on the US stock market, has averaged annual growth of 10% since its inception. The S&P 500 has been around for nearly a century. It’s gone through multiple global recessions, but over time, has produced consistent returns.

The S&P 500 Over Time

2. Outpace Inflation

Many UK investors are unaware of the impact inflation can have on their wealth. The Bank of England has a target inflation rate of 2%. This means that every year, your savings lose at least 2% in value. Currently, inflation is much higher than 2%. Recent figures suggest that the UK inflation rate is currently 4%.

The best way to beat inflation and protect your wealth is to invest in assets. More specifically, assets that can produce higher returns than inflation. Whether or not you are able to do this will depend on the success of your investments. After all, not all shares will rise in value.

3. Receive Regular Income

If you invest in a portfolio of dividend shares, you’ll receive regular income payments. Most dividend companies make a payment every three months. Many investors will look to build long-term wealth through dividend shares alone. This means that they are less concerned with the share value of the company.

After all, as long as the company has the financial means to keep making payments, the investor will simply collect their dividend every quarter. Moreover, you will benefit from compound growth if you keep reinvesting your dividend in shares.

  • For example, suppose you invest £5,000 into a dividend company.
  • The company makes a quarterly dividend payment of £75. You then use that £75 to buy more shares.
  • So, when you next receive a dividend, you’ll receive a higher payment.
  • This is because you now have more shares in the company.
  • If you repeat this strategy every three months for many years, you’ll quickly see your portfolio compound.
  • This will be the case irrespective of the company’s share price.

As we mentioned earlier, Dividend Kings have paid a dividend every three months for over 50 years without fail. Not only that, but they’ve increased their annual dividend payment every year.

What are the Best Shares for Dividends?

  • If you’re looking to build a portfolio of top-paying dividend shares – focus on Dividend Kings.
  • These are companies that have increased the size of their dividend for at least 50 consecutive years.
  • This is an exclusive club that includes established blue-chips like Coca-Cola, 3M, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Target, and Abbvie.
  • If one of these Dividend Kings doesn’t increase their dividend payment, this would be hugely unexpected.
  • But to reduce the risks, you could invest in a range of Dividend Kings from multiple industries.

4. You Can Avoid Paying Tax on Shares When Going Through an ISA 

The UK government encourages long-term share ownership. If you invest via a Stocks and Shares ISA (Individual Savings Account), you benefit from tax advantages.

For example, you can currently invest up to £20,000 into a Stocks and Shares ISA in 2023/24. Any profits you make on your ISA shares will not be liable for capital gains tax. Moreover, you won’t pay any tax on the dividends you receive. Over the course of time, your share investments will grow tax-free.

5. Shares Allow you to Diversify  

There are tens of thousands of shares to choose from. From a risk-management perspective, this allows you to easily diversify. This means that you can spread the risk across dozens of different companies.

The process has never been easier, as the best stock brokers in the UK support ‘fractional ownership’. This means that you can buy a small fraction of a share. And thus – you can avoid being over-exposed to one company.

Where to Get Stock Tips and Insights

To learn more about picking stocks, we recommend checking out AltIndex, a subscription service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and alternative data

AltIndex Stock Screener

This means that it analyzes social media and other websites, app downloads, customer satisfaction ratings, and other data regarding a company.

The data AltIndex gathers over time is then compared to other companies while using machine learning to come up with investment insights. Stocks are given a score from of 1 to 100, simplifying the analytical process for investors.

With more than 10k members, AltIndex is a widely used and trusted service. It provides over 100,000 unique daily stock insights and alerts, and has a very impressive win rate of 75% from its AI stock picks.

You can try AltIndex’s Starter Plan for just $29 a month and receive stock picks directly to your email, as well many other useful features.

      Conclusion    

      In summary, we’ve ranked the 10 best shares to buy right now in the UK. We’ve covered a broad range of investments – including growth, blue-chip, and dividend shares. 

      All of the shares discussed today can be purchased from a top broker such as Altindex.

      References    

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      Kane Pepi
      Editor
      Kane Pepi
      Editor

      Kane Pepi is an accomplished financial and cryptocurrency writer who has an extensive portfolio of over 2,000 articles, guides, and market insights. With his expertise in specialized subjects such as asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and financial crime prevention, Kane has built a reputation for providing clear explanations of complex financial topics. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and a Master's Degree in Financial Crime, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate degree, which focuses on investigating the complexities of money laundering in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sectors. Kane's wealth of knowledge and experience in the field make…