£1k to invest? Cheap UK shares below £3 to buy right now!

I’m seeking the best cheap UK shares to buy for my investment portfolio today. Here are three top stocks (including a penny stock) on my radar.

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As people spend more and more money on their pets, I decided to buy shares in veterinary services provider CVS Group. But I was equally tempted to invest in cheap UK share Animalcare Group (LSE: ANCR) instead. This business makes the medicines CVS dispenses.

Buying a pharma stock like this is risky business as drugs production is naturally complex and failures at the lab bench can cost a fortune in lost revenues and additional development costs. But that’s not to say that investment here is a bad idea. Analysts at Grand View Research think the animal medicines market will grow 80% between now and 2028 when it will be worth $88.7bn.

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An advantage that Animalcare has over CVS is its huge exposure to the livestock industry. It’s a market that’s set for massive growth as global meat consumption is set to rise considerably. Revenues at Animalcare soared 13.3% in the six months to June. And the business has committed to increasing investment in its product pipeline over the next couple of years to keep turnover ripping higher.

Market leader

I’m also considering buying penny stock HSS Hire Group (LSE: HSS) right now. It’s a market leader in the tool and equipment rental industry, with around 250 stores running the length and breadth of the country. This gives it the scope to capitalise on the UK’s home improvement boom.

Spending on DIY projects rocketed during the Covid-19 lockdowns. And the amount Britons spend on home remodelling looks set to remain strong too, underpinned by a strong domestic housing market and the huge savings people accrued during the pandemic.

I think HSS has the clout to capitalise on these favourable conditions to the max. And I also like the huge investment the firm has made to improve its digital operations, enabling it to exploit the e-commerce boom more fully. I’d buy this cheap UK share despite the fact it operates in a highly-competitive marketplace.

I’d buy this cheap UK share too!

I also think Halfords Group (LSE: HFD) is another great low-cost stock for me. That’s even though the retailer’s profits can fall sharply when economic conditions worsen and consumer spending comes under the cosh.

As you might know, Halfords sells huge volumes of car accessories and provides auto servicing and maintenance to its customers too. It is also the biggest seller of bicycles and cycle parts in the country.

This latter role is what makes it such an attractive stock, in my opinion. Bike sales are going through the roof as people seek a more environmentally-friendly ways to get around. The rising importance of personal fitness with consumers is also lighting up sales.

Demand for bikes should also benefit from massive government spending to upgrade cycling infrastructure in the UK. Halfords, with its position as a one-stop-shop for everything bicycle related, and home to extremely-popular brands such as Boardman and Pendleton stands to gain enormously in this environment.

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Royston Wild owns shares of CVS Group. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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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