2 UK stocks that could benefit from the growth of AI

Investing in AI isn’t just about semiconductor stocks. Investors should also pay attention to the potential for a huge boost in demand for energy and data.

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Investors are starting to look beyond the obvious candidates for artificial intelligence (AI) stocks to buy. And that makes a couple of FTSE 100 companies look interesting.

The US has the semiconductor market pretty well nailed down. But that’s not the only industry that stands to do well as AI becomes more mainstream.

AI inputs

Obviously, AI needs a significant amount of computing power. As a result, the market for data centres has been booming and Nvidia – justifiably – has been a big beneficiary. 

But with the Nvidia share price up 700% since the start of 2023, investors are starting to look elsewhere. And attention has been turning to other AI inputs, specifically power and data.

Information is key to AI. Training a large language model (LLM) takes a lot of data and investors are starting to think that companies that provide this could be about to do well. 

This is where I think there are opportunities for UK companies to benefit from the rise of AI. And some of the best candidates might be the least obvious ones.

Barclays

Barclays (LSE:BARC) is a good example. The bank has a roughly 40% share of the UK credit card market, giving it unparalleled data into people’s spending habits. 

The company’s data allows it to see how much people are spending and what they are buying. Giving that kind of data to a trained LLM could produce something valuable.

The share price is up 37% over the last year, but investors should be alert to the risk of lower interest rates. If these come down, the company’s margins might well contract.

I don’t think the market appreciates the potential value of the data Barclays gathers through its credit card operations, though. As the scope of AI expands, this could be significant.

The London Stock Exchange Group

Another interesting candidate is The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE:LSEG). The UK stock market hasn’t been popular lately, but there’s more to the business than this. 

The firm owns Refinitiv, which accounts for around 70% of its revenues. This part of the company is a data and analytics operation that provides information to investors.

The stock isn’t cheap and a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 68 makes the investment risky. But the company has exactly the kind of data that could be valuable in an AI world.

Being attached to the London Stock Exchange gives Refinitiv a competitive position that is essentially impossible to emulate. That’s why I think it’s worth considering right now.

Investing in AI

Artificial intelligence is the investing theme of 2024 – and it’s likely to remain popular for some time. That makes it hard to find opportunities to buy AI stocks at decent prices. 

AI is about more than just computing, though. Looking slightly further afield, there are some UK companies with data that could prove to be highly valuable assets over the next few years.

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.

Stephen Wright has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays Plc and Nvidia. 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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