A new stock market crash could be around the corner! This is how I’d buy UK shares today

Royston Wild
·3-min read
Arrow descending on a graph portraying stock market crash
Arrow descending on a graph portraying stock market crash

Investor confidence continued to improve in Thursday business and UK share markets have hit some significant new highs. Take the FTSE 100 for instance. Britain’s blue-chip index has just barged through 6,450 points again and is a whisker off nine-month highs.

The recovery in market sentiment is welcome following a nightmare year for UK share investors. But it’s still too early to conclude that the new bull market has finally arrived.

4 reasons why stock prices might reverse

There are a number of reasons why UK share prices could decline at the end of 2020 and in early 2021:

  • Stock investors reacted positively to news that a Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Britain is imminent. But UK share prices would take an almighty whack if overseas regulators fail to follow suit. Worries about how these ‘magic bullets’ would be rolled out across the globe could also smack stock prices.

  • Investor sentiment has suffered in recent hours as tension surrounding Brexit negotiations has increased. There’s less than a month for UK and EU negotiators to surmount significant disagreements and hammer out a deal. And any accord has to be signed off by sceptical EU members such as France.

The UK national flag in front of Canary Wharf skyscrapers where professionals trade shares for a living.
The UK national flag in front of Canary Wharf skyscrapers where professionals trade shares for a living.
  • Resurgent fears that central banks are running out of ammunition to fight the global downturn. The Bank of England’s fresh £150bn quantitative easing programme in November has brought it close to its buying limits, for example.

  • The threat of a US government shutdown also casts a pall over stock markets this winter. A fresh shutdown would be the third under the watch of outgoing President Donald Trump and the fourth in seven years. It likely wouldn’t have a devastating effect on UK share prices. But it could exacerbate existing weakness caused by those other issues.

UK shares to protect your wealth

I’m not concerned about how UK share prices will move in the short term. I buy stocks with a view to holding them for a minimum of a decade. Over this sort of timescale the impact of temporary share price volatility has a minimal effect on total returns.

But let’s say that an investor wants to avoid seeing the value of their shares plummet. Or that they buy UK shares with a view to holding them for a much shorter duration. Well I can purchase companies that have classic defensive operations to protect against further stock market volatility.

Profits at these companies remain stable whatever broader economic conditions are like. And there are plenty of stocks like this for UK share investors to choose from. I can buy FTSE 100 royalty like defence colossus BAE Systems, electricity generator SSE or car insurance colossus Admiral Group, for example. Or I can plump for other Footsie stocks like medicines maker GlaxoSmithKline or telecoms provider Vodafone Group. I’d happily buy any of these shares for my own Stocks and Shares ISA today.

The post A new stock market crash could be around the corner! This is how I’d buy UK shares today appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Admiral Group and GlaxoSmithKline. 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.

Motley Fool UK 2020