5 freedom day shares to buy

With ‘freedom day’ fast approaching, Christopher Ruane considers five UK shares to buy now for the benefit of his portfolio.

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With ‘freedom day’ imminent, when many remaining restrictions are to be lifted in England, life is likely to change. I think that presents interesting investing opportunities. Here are five shares to buy now that I would consider for my portfolio.

Transportation group

Bus and coach operator Stagecoach has already been recovering from last year’s initial slump in demand. I expect that more people travelling to work will further boost the company’s revenues.

Despite signs of the company’s return to health, Stagecoach shares have been falling lately. While they are up 31% compared to a year ago, they are now 36% lower than they were in March. The market perceives risks, including a possible increase in mixed working, meaning passenger revenues never reach their historical levels. But I continue to see Stagecoach as shares to buy now.

Cheers to pub visits

As the summer progresses, I expect to see pub patronage increase. That is why I regard JD Wetherspoon among shares to buy now for my portfolio.

A lot of recovery expectations are already built into the share price, which has added 14% over the past year. But I think shares in the chain have further upside. Wetherspoons is a highly accomplished operator with well-located sites and a competitive cost base. The pandemic has forced it to retrench – and tap the market for more funds. But I see a return to normality as good news for the company. One risk is significant staff absence due to self-isolation, which could reduce revenues and profits.

Buffett-like shares to buy

I also see a reopening opportunity for AG Barr, the manufacturer of soft drinks including the iconic Irn-Bru. As more staff return to their standard work patterns, demand should return closer to normal. Barr shares still languish below their price at the start of the pandemic.

I like the shares because they match some investment criteria used by shrewd investor Warren Buffett. For example, the company’s main brand has a strong following of loyal customers, which gives the company pricing power. But one concern is regulatory attacks on sugary soft drinks. That risks damaging profitability.

High street bank

With high streets closer to normal, they ought to see more footfall. That could be good for businesses even if they have stayed open during lockdown.

That could provide a small benefit to banks with a strong physical branch presence, such as Natwest. But if reopening leads to more workers being paid their standard wages again, I think that could also boost demand for banking services both in branch and online. I see that as positive for Natwest, although one risk is that higher consumer spending could increase default rates.

Shares to buy for freedom day: Hotel Chocolat

I also consider Hotel Chocolat among tasty shares to buy in coming days.

The company this week reported a 21% increase in revenue for the past year. That reflects its successful pivot to online sales when shops were closed. Many of its new fans may be tempted to stock up when they pass the retailer’s shop windows. That could be good for the Hotel Chocolat share price. A risk is that if people spend more when out and about again, they won’t have as much money for indulgences as they did during lockdowns.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Christopher Ruane owns shares in Natwest and Stagecoach. The Motley Fool UK has recommended AG Barr and Hotel Chocolat. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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