July has been a rather volatile month for the UK stock market. Optimism over the lifting of restrictions in England was quickly replaced with concerns over rising infection levels and staff shortages brought about by the so-called ‘pingdemic’.
None of this has stopped me from continuing to buy growth stocks for my own portfolio though.
Contrarian growth stock
After sitting on the sidelines for a while, I’ve finally grabbed the bull by the horns and snapped up shares of online holiday firm On the Beach (LSE: OTB).
Devoid of the high fixed costs endured by larger peers such as TUI, OTB’s flexible, online-only business model ensures it has minimal cash burn while travel restrictions remain in place. A recent £26m share placing also gives the company sufficient financial firepower for a big marketing push when rules are relaxed and demand for holidays explodes.
This isn’t to say that taking a position now is without risk. Those restrictions will likely be in place for a while yet. Moreover, the barriers to entry into this market aren’t particularly high.
Nevertheless, the progress of vaccination programmes leads me to think that the risk/reward trade-off is far better than it used to be. OTB’s share price is also down roughly 40% since March. This gives me what I feel to be a decent margin of safety. I’ll be continuing to drip-feed my money into this growth stock over the next few months.
Buying the dip
I simply couldn’t finish July without adding to my stake in fast-fashion giant Boohoo (LSE: BOO). A bumpy ride over the last month, not helped by a poorly-received update from industry peer ASOS, looks to be another opportunity to acquire this growth stock at a great price.
The 20% fall in Boohoo’s value over the last six months leaves its shares changing hands for less than 26 times earnings. I think that could prove to be a steal once the company puts its ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) concerns to bed. The negative publicity will hopefully lessen as BOO demonstrates what it’s done to put things right with its supply chain.
Sure, there are other potential headwinds. Confirmation of an online sales tax could send the shares lower, as might a simple lack of news over the next month. However, some knockout interim numbers in September may arrest this fall. Evidence that recent acquisitions are bearing fruit would provide another boost.
My last buy this month has actually been an investment trust rather than a single company stock.
I began buying Biotech Growth Trust (LSE: BIOG) in April. Unfortunately, its shares have drifted lower since then. Reasons could include the ongoing rotation from growth stocks into those appearing to offer more value. There might also be a belief that healthcare-related funds have had their time in the sun.
Notwithstanding this, I’m confident BIOG’s managers — many of whom are medically trained — know what they’re doing. An annualised return of 17% over the last five years is far better than the trust’s benchmark. Then again, this has been at the expense of greater volatility, As such, those with weak stomachs need not apply.
Given the rate of technological progress, this area could be one of the investment themes for years. I think a diversified trust like BIOG is the best way to play it.
Paul Summers owns shares in On The Beach, boohoo group and Biotech Growth Trust. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ASOS, On The Beach, and 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.