The 10 most popular Stocks and Shares ISA equities revealed! Which would I buy?

Royston Wild sifts through the most popular picks among Stocks and Shares ISA investors and reveals which ones he’d buy right now.

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UK shares have been rising sharply in recent weeks, supported by Stocks and Shares ISA investors making an early start on their new £20k annual allowance.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, notes that “investors have been wasting no time at the start of the tax year, with early birds swooping on companies which have been driving stock market returns, while others spy the potential for fresh gains ahead.”

The top 10

In particular, Hargreaves Lansdown ISA investors are piling heavily into FTSE 100 and US tech stocks at the moment. The 10 most popular stocks with this group can be seen below.

Most bought shares so far in 2024/2025 with HL ISA investors (net buys)
 Legal & General Group
 Tesla Inc
 Phoenix Group Holdings
 BAE Systems
 MicroStrategy Inc
 Nvidia Corp
 Microsoft Corporation

There’s a lot of quality on this list. And a number of them have been attracting a lot of attention from value hunters following recent price falls.

A stock I bought

Legal & General (LSE:LGEN) is a falling Footsie share I’ve bought for my own ISA in recent weeks. It’s slumped due to disappointing full-year results and fading expecations on interest rate cuts.

I think this represented an excellent dip-buying opportunity.

Like any financial services company, the FTSE firm faces a struggle to grow earnings in the current climate. But as an investor, I’m prepared to accept a little short-term discomfort if the long-term outlook remains sound.

In the case of Legal & General, I expect demand for its retirement, wealth and protection products to rise strongly in the coming decades as populations in its global markets rapidly age. The company can leverage its significant brand power to make the most of this opportunity too.

Legal & General’s share price has fallen even further since I bought in last month. This means its forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio has dropped to 9 times, while its dividend yield has risen to 9%.

At these levels, I’m tempted to buy even more of its shares.

… and another on my radar

Weapons builder BAE Systems (LSE:BA.) has also attracted a lot of investors in recent weeks. But unlike Legal & General, its share price continues to fly, maintaining the trend that began in early 2022.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has proved a watershed moment for global politics and, by extension, the entire defence industry. BAE Systems booked £37.7bn worth of orders in 2023, a result which propelled its order backlog to £69.8bn.

This has significantly boosted its profits outlook beyond 2024. As analyst Streeter notes: “because these are typically long-cycle orders, with revenues spread over several years, it gives [the firm] multi-year revenue visibility.”

Bullish pledges on defence spending suggest the company should continue to build out its order book, too. The UK and US governments — its two biggest customers — have vowed to increase arms expenditure by 2.5% and 4% respectively.

There’s no guarantee that BAE Systems will deliver knockout profits in this climate, of course. Programme delays and tech failures could harm its ability to win future business.

But the company has a brilliant track record when it comes to project execution. And on balance, the outlook for this defence giant is extremely bright.

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.

Royston Wild has positions in Aviva Plc and Legal & General Group Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended BAE Systems, Hargreaves Lansdown Plc, M&g Plc, Microsoft, Nvidia, Tesco Plc, and Tesla. 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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