The April 5 deadline is approaching for Stocks and Shares ISA investors to max out this year’s allowance. This means that I’m on the hunt for the best FTSE 250 shares to buy.
These UK shares have all caught my eye recently because of their low share prices. Should I buy them for my stocks portfolio before the ISA deadline?
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On paper there’s a lot to like about Centrica (LSE: CNA). This former FTSE 100 stalwart has fallen hard over the past decade as the emergence of smaller, promotion-led suppliers has smashed its British Gas customer base.
Recent plans tabled by regulator Ofgem could help Centrica turn the tide against its bitter rivals, though. Fresh proposals would see energy suppliers having to refund a total of £1.4bn to customers whose accounts are in credit. The indirect benefits to British Gas could well offset the obvious disadvantages as this extra cash allows smaller suppliers to offer ultra-cheap deals to their consumers. It’s feared that many of these more modest operators could go to the wall if the plans are put into practice.
The framework provides light at the end of the tunnel for Centrica. But it doesn’t mean I think it’s one of the best-value FTSE 250 shares to buy today. This is even though the company trades on a forward price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.2 and carries a meaty 4% dividend yield.
These plans are yet to be signed off by Ofgem, of course, and the proposals could be shot down on fears over market competition. Meanwhile the British Gas customer base continues to fall, down 2% in 2020 to 9.2m household accounts. The problem may well get worse over the medium term as tough economic conditions prompt more of its customers to seek out cheaper deals elsewhere.
One of the best-value shares to buy
So I’m prepared to forget about Centrica despite its cheap price. Indeed, I’d much rather spend my hard-earned cash to invest in promotional products manufacturer 4Imprint Group (LSE: FOUR). The amount companies spend on marketing usually picks up strongly during the early stages of the economic cycle. So I think this FTSE 250 stock could be one of the best shares to buy for the new bull market.
Be aware that a powerful profits rebound in 2021 isn’t guaranteed, of course. The US promotional products distribution market plummeted 20% last year as the Covid-19 crisis struck. That’s according to the Advertising Specialty Institute. An uptick in infections in 4Imprint’s core US marketplace could hammer demand for the firm’s wares yet again.
Regardless of this, I’m excited about its exceptional revenues opportunities over the long term. The company has a market-leading position. Yet the boffins at Edison reckon this UK share commands just 3% of the promotional goods market Stateside. This clearly leaves plenty of upside for the company’s sales teams to exploit. I don’t think this is something the firm’s low PEG ratio of 0.2 for 2021 reflects.