The prospect of interest rates remaining at rock-bottom levels is a big risk to banking sector profits. But a UK banking share I’d be happy to buy — and especially over British financial giants like Lloyds and Barclays — is Bank of Georgia Group (LSE: BGEO).
Georgia is a fast-growing Eurasian economy that expanded at an average of 5% between 2005 and 2019, according to the World Bank. There have been huge regulatory changes in recent years to reinforce and improve the quality and stability of the banking industry.
This all bodes well for Bank of Georgia, a cyclical UK share that is already enjoying improving economic conditions following the pandemic. Operating income soared 10.6% year-on-year in the first three months of 2021, latest financials showed. I’d buy the bank in August for the economic recovery, even if the rise of green energy poses a risk to Georgia’s oil-dependent economy.
In a recent article I explained how PayPoint’s (LSE: PAY) high-tech till systems make it a top dividend share for me to buy this decade. In recent hours I’ve seen retail data supporting my bullish take.
IGD predicts the convenience retail channel will grow 12.5% in the five years to 2026, to £50m. It said that “a continued focus on neighbourhood locations underpinned by the higher levels of working from home and suburban living will boost the convenience channel.” This bodes well for PayPoint. Its terminals offer a range of services like EPoS, card payments and parcel dispatch that allow convenience stores to do business in an increasingly technical retail environment.
IGD’s predictions that e-commerce will expand 21.4% between 2021 and 2026 also look good for PayPoint. It means that the number of parcels being scanned with its terminals is likely to grow through this period. I think the firm is a top buy despite the catastrophic damage that a technical failure of PayPoint’s systems would do to retailers’ operations, and by extension to its reputation.
A top UK IT share
The threat of being hacked has always been a problem for internet users. But staggering statistics from the FBI illustrate the level at which the threat of cybercrime has rocketed following the Covid-19 outbreak. It shows that the total cost of cyber attacks soared to $4.2bn in 2020, up a staggering $700m year-on-year.
The problem is only likely to get worse as society becomes more internet-dependent, people work from home in greater numbers and more regularly, and online shopping continues to grow. I think this makes UK shares like NCC Group (LSE: NCC) some of the best tech stocks for me to buy. This particular company helps businesses identify weaknesses in their IT defences and helps them fight cyber attacks when they emerge.
As an investor, though, I’m aware that NCC faces immense competition that could damage the returns I eventually make. In particular US cybersecurity giants like Microsoft and McAfee have the spending power that could suffocate smaller operators like this.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, NCC, PayPoint and Lloyds Banking Group. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Microsoft. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. 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.