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Are these the best UK shares to buy now?

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While the start of 2021 has been marred by various record-setting Covid-19 travesties, new vaccines mean the UK can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. With the end of the pandemic in sight – and hopefully a year of recovery for UK companies – here are my best UK shares to buy now.

Persimmon

Persimmon (LSE:PSN), the largest house building company in the UK, had an interesting year. On 20 February 2020, it was trading at an all-time high of 3307p per share. By 22 April, it had plummeted to 2021p. Just seven months later, Persimmon’s share price had risen by 37% and is showing signs of a persistent recovery. 

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Does this promising growth make the company one of the best UK shares to buy now? In the long term, I think so. Alan Oscroft and I agree that buying Persimmon and holding it for a long time could be a winner.

A surplus of demand in the housing sector means that business is booming. Interest rates are at a record low and until 31 March, homes worth under £500,000 are free from stamp duty. This has encouraged new customers. The positive implications of this should be detailed in the company’s 13 January trading update. 

It’s also in no real danger of being put out of business by any further coronavirus waves. In fact, it has continued to operate throughout the pandemic with impressive profit margins and a consistent dividend. This makes Persimmon one of my best UK shares to buy now.  

National Express

Unsurprisingly, National Express (LSE:NEX) had a bad year. The travel industry all but ground to a halt, with the UK favouring just about anything over being crammed into a poorly ventilated moving box with strangers.

Interestingly, the share’s lowest moment actually came in September, rather than at the start of the UK lockdown. At 114p, it was its lowest price since 2009, and marked a 76% decrease on this year’s peak of 476p. Said peak was the high point of a relatively consistent nine-year period of growth.

This has put National Express in a position where its current price is low enough (roughly 240p) to make it one of my best UK shares to buy now.

When the news of vaccines began to break in November, National Rail’s share price shot up and stayed there. Placing most of the UK into tier four hasn’t really impacted its share price at all, so no matter how slow and painful 2021 is, further lockdowns shouldn’t cause too many problems in terms of share price recovery. 

Looking to the future, National Express seems to be in a good position. The government has pledged to reduce emissions across the board in the coming years, and National Express wants a zero-emission bus fleet by 2030. As part of this initiative, it launched its first electric bus in 2020: “Our new electric buses get us a step closer to our vision to to become the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company“.

I think Persimmon and National Express are two of the best UK shares to buy now and keep for the long term.

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Dan Peeke has no position in any of the shares mentioned. 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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