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2 UK shares to buy and hold for the long term

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After companies released half-yearly results in July, it is time to look at UK shares to buy based on recovery from the turbulence of the last 12 months.

I am focusing on stocks that have made a healthy turnaround during this period, showing resilience and good fundamentals. These are the two UK shares I’d buy today for long-term returns.

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ITV

British media company ITV (LSE: ITV) has responded well to the demands of the pandemic and changing viewing patterns of the general public. This is evident in its market performance with share prices rising 78% in the last 12 months.

After TV and film productions across the UK came to a grinding halt, ITV share prices dropped, hitting 54p in April 2020. But recovery has been steady and share prices have more than doubled since, currently standing at 117p. I think this ascent is justified and set to continue.

The 2021 interim report shows a 26% increase in total revenue at £798m. The return of shows like Dancing on Ice and Love Island shows how this media company remains popular in the age of streaming.

Total advertising revenue is up 29% and revenue on ITV Hub (its own video on demand service) is up 55%. Also, June 2021 delivered the largest ad revenues for the month of June in ITV history. This is an encouraging sign for me as ad revenue dictates media success.

Though traditional media still faces stiff competition from the growth of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, I see good adaptability with ITV Hub. Also, shows on the channel continue to pull in large viewership figures, which is a healthy sign for the future. ITV definitely earns a place on my list of UK shares to buy for long-term returns.

Legal & General

Financial services company Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) has been on the rise and share prices have gone up 52% since November 2020. Returns over the last 12-month period stand at a more modest 17.4%.

The half-yearly financial report was very encouraging for investors on the lookout for stable growth stocks. Operating profits are up 14% at £1.07bn and earnings per share up 21% at 17.74p. Its investment arm, Legal & General Capital (LGC), managed to double operating profits from the first half of 2020 to £250m.

The shareholder-centric model of Legal & General delivers a 7% dividend yield, one of the highest amongst FTSE 100 listed companies. The total dividend value was 17.57p last year and the 2021 interim dividend was raised by 5% to 5.18p. And this yield has been increasing steadily through the last decade, making it a great long-term option for me, since I’m looking at companies with solid returns.

It faces stiff competition in the crowded insurance and capital management sector in the UK from the likes of Aviva and RSA Insurance. But I think its large market share and shareholder centric model makes it one of the best FTSE 100 shares at the moment, and it definitely earns a place in my list of UK shares to buy for the long term.

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Suraj Radhakrishnan has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Netflix. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ITV. 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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