That post-Christmas Bitcoin bump didn’t take long to unravel. It’s sinking again after briefly reclaiming $4,000 last week, and it would take a braver man than me to invest right now given the ferocity of the stampede out of the cryptocurrency in 2018.
That’s not to say that digital currencies won’t have the capacity to rise this year. One of the biggest fears over the likes of Bitcoin and its peers concerns regulation, but lawmakers are starting to step up their investigation into the sector, including the European Banking Authority which last week called on the European Commission to take action.
“More regulators around the world are providing clarity for cryptocurrency companies to operate either within existing frameworks, or with new licenses,” chief executive of Bitcoin and Ethereum broker Luno, Marcus Swanepoel, commented. And he suggested that “this will help increase trust, weed out most (if not all) of the bad actors, and form the foundation for large-scale institutional money to come into the crypto ecosystem.”
This could, of course, provide Bitcoin’s price with a welcome shot in the arm, but there is still a very long way to go on this front. In the meantime I’m prepared to sit on the sidelines and watch what happens.
A better bet?
Buy-to-let investment is something else that I’m not prepared to touch with a bargepole.
On the one hand, now would appear to be a great time to pile in to the sector. Buy-to-let mortgage rates remain at rock bottom, and there are some very decent products out there, like Leeds Building Society’s two- and five-year products that offer £1,000 cash-back, to entice you in.
However, this is the only bright spot in what threatens to be another tumultuous year for landlords. Additional Bank of England base rate rises could be just around the corner, as could additional tax changes from the government; rental yields are likely to remain on the defensive; regulations, like those on houses of multiple occupancy, are increasing; and while a no-deal Brexit has become a little more unlikely in recent days, the possibility is not off the table and this, if enacted, would deal a hammer blow to home prices.
What about Boohoo?
So would investors be better off using their investment cash to buy shares in Boohoo Group (LSE: BOO) instead?
The profit warning over at ASOS underlined the extent of the crush on consumer appetite here in the UK and showed that not even the big players in the fast-growing internet shopping space are immune to these tough conditions.
Latest numbers from Boohoo though have been much more encouraging. Not only did it soothe investors by upgrading its revenues projections for the year to February 2019, but it again underlined the great work to maintain chunky margins too. It expects adjusted EBITDA margins to end the year between 9.25% and 9.75%.
I think Boohoo is a great stock for long-term investors to buy, though perhaps not at the current time. The retailer currently sports a huge forward P/E ratio of 46.7x, a reading that could prompt a sharp sell-off like that of ASOS should sales begin to weaken. I’d wait until some of the storm clouds over the UK begin to move on before buying into the clothing giant.
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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended boohoo group. 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.