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5 top UK shares to buy now

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The global economy is set to continue recovering from the pandemic over the course of this year. That could make it a good time to buy shares, in my opinion. So I’ve been considering what UK shares to buy now.

Here are five shares from the FTSE 100 index I would consider buying now for my portfolio.

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Consumer goods champion

Unilever is a well-known consumer goods company which owns brands such as Surf and Marmite.

It has a wide range of brands catering for different price points. It also has global reach. So I think the company is a good way to expose my portfolio to the global economy.

A trading statement published today was encouraging about sales performance. Underlying sales growth in the first quarter was 5.7% compared to a year ago.

However, one risk of such a multinational is currency exposure. Despite the positive sales trend, currency rates meant that turnover fell by 0.9%.

Banking shares to buy now

Another company that has issued a positive update this week is Lloyds Bank. The iconic black horse is returning to a gallop after the hurdles of the pandemic. Reversing some provisions for bad loans it made last year, the company was able to record a first quarter profit of £1.9bn.

I hope the company will pay out some of the money it saved by cancelling its dividend last year. It hinted at that in its results.

Risks include any economic downturn, which could drive up bad loans and so reduce profits.

Passive income opportunity

For yield, I have British American Tobacco on my list of shares to buy now for my portfolio. The company recently affirmed its financial targets for the present year. It anticipates growth in both revenues and profits. That reflects BAT’s broad geographic reach as well as its push into cigarette alternatives.

However, cigarettes are a declining business in many markets, which could hurt sales. 

At 7.9%, BAT’s yield is one of the highest in the FTSE 100. BAT has raised its dividend annually across two decades, although dividends are never guaranteed.

Advertising recovery

I continue to be excited by the prospects for S4 Capital. But the company its founder built before he started S4 is also showing signs of strong progress.

With a broad-based portfolio of advertising assets, WPP may not be as nimble as S4. But it does have large economies of scale.

After a rough couple of years, the company is eyeing a recovery in advertising markets this year. WPP is ramping up its digital capabilities. Risks include the company’s focus on older ad agency brands at a time when much of the growth in advertising spend is with new media agencies.

Medical shares to buy now

I would also consider investing in Smith & Nephew.

The medical devices supplier saw the pandemic hit sales. Patients have been less willing or able to visit hospitals for elective procedures in which some of its products are used.

I think that will pass with time. I regard Smith & Nephew as shares to buy now for my portfolio. The company’s mix of products makes me think it is well-positioned for future growth in healthcare demand.

But as the pandemic has shown, risks include any future event which delays elective medical procedures in key markets.

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christopherruane owns shares of British American Tobacco, Lloyds Banking Group, S4 Capital plc, and Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group, Smith & Nephew, and Unilever. 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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