Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Are these the best UK shares to watch now?

Discover our picks for the most popular UK shares to watch. We’ve broken down the key themes and gathered the top stocks – plus we’ll explain how to take a position.

Top UK shares for 2022: key themes

The key themes for 2022 are going to be a major decider of which shares are the best to watch. Here are three areas that could be worth keeping an eye on:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic saw an explosion in interest for stocks in the tech space or involved in at-home work or entertainment in 2020 and earlier 2021. However, this ‘tech boom’ appears to be over and it remains to be seen what shares will most hold investors’ attention now
  • In the wake of interest rate hikes around the world during 2021 and foretold upcoming rate changes in the UK, banking stocks could be interesting ones to watch
  • Covid-19 variant Omicron is being watched for its potential to force further lockdowns in the UK and elsewhere, which could be significant for the air travel, tourism, restaurant and entertainment industries

Best UK shares to watch now: our analyst’s top picks

We asked our in-house analysts to pick out some of the best UK shares to keep an eye on. These are based on various factors such as market cap, future growth prospects, dividends, macroeconomic events and more.

It should also be noted that these are our analysts’ opinions of the best stocks – any investment or trading decision you make should be underpinned by thorough research and analysis, as well as a knowledge that past performance is no indication of future results.

Here are some of the top UK shares to keep an eye on, in terms of both growth prospects and volatility, according to Senior IG Market Analyst, Joshua Mahony:

  1. Barclays
  2. Whitbread

Barclays

With the Bank of England (BoE) likely to raise rates ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB), Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE)-listed banks look an attractive proposition as long as Omicron turns out to be mild enough to remove the need for lockdowns.

Barclays looks particularly interesting as we move forward, with the bank expected to outperform as elevated inflation drives interest rates higher at the BoE.

Near-term risks remain as we ascertain exactly how deadly the Omicron variant actually is, but the bank is likely to benefit from higher rates before long if the UK avoids prolonged lockdowns.

Bank margins improve as rates increase, and Barclays also enjoy the investment side of the business. This is likely to help drive outperformance amongst European peers.

Trade Barclays shares

Whitbread

The hotel and restaurant group have understandably been under pressure following the emergence of the Omicron variant, but much of their business is reliant upon domestic demand rather than international travel.

Whitbread shares look somewhat potentially oversold at present, following a period of weakness during November 2021. As of the beginning of December 2021, the stock was still 40% below its Covid-19 pre-pandemic levels.

This stock could be disrupted if the UK needs to go into further lockdowns in future thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, but otherwise could be a very good one to keep an eye on.

Trade Whitbread shares

How to buy and trade the best UK stocks

  1. Research the best UK stocks and choose the shares you want to buy
  2. Decide whether you’d like to trade or invest
  3. To trade, create or open your spread betting or CFD trading account
  4. To invest, create or open your share dealing account
  5. Search for the stock you want to buy
  6. Set your deal size
  7. Take steps to manage your risk
  8. Open and monitor your position

If you like the idea of purchasing shares in the best UK companies outright, you’ll want to invest. With us, you can buy UK shares from just £3 commission with a share dealing account.1

Or you can trade with us, which means you’ll speculate on top UK stocks’ share prices without owning any. This means you can take a position on UK shares with just a small deposit, using spread bets or CFDs. Spread bets are completely tax free, while CFDs are free from stamp duty.

However, remember that both CFDs and spread bets are leveraged, meaning you use a smaller deposit (called margin) to open a larger position. This means that your profits and losses can far exceed you initial deposit amount, so ensure you’re trading wisely and taking steps to manage your risk.

Best UK dividend shares in to watch

Aside from our analysts’ picks, there are plenty of other UK shares to keep in your sights – including those with good dividend prospects.

Here are our picks for the top UK dividend stocks for 2022 so far, based on the most popular UK shares on our platforms and most recent dividend payouts:

  1. Diageo
  2. Evraz
  3. Imperial Brands Group

See our full list of the top UK dividend stocks to watch now

Best UK penny stocks to watch

Here are our picks for the top UK penny stocks for 2022 thus far, based on the most popular UK shares on our platforms and UK stocks’ share price increase so far in the quarter:

  1. Jadestone Energy
  2. Quantum Blockchain Technologies
  3. Cineworld Group

See our full list of the top UK penny stocks to watch now

Best UK tech stocks to watch

Our picks for the top UK tech stocks to watch in the next quarter, according to their performance in the quarter so far and our assessment of their overall company outlook, are:

  1. Kainos Group
  2. Softcat
  3. Darktrace

See our full list of the top UK tech stocks to watch to watch now

Best UK blue-chip stocks to watch

Blue-chip stocks often represent the chance to trade or invest in established, known brands. Our picks for the top UK blue-chip stocks to trade this quarter, based on market cap are:

  1. Lloyds Banking Group
  2. Rolls-Royce Holdings
  3. International Consolidated Airlines Group

See our full list of the top UK value and blue-chip stocks to watch now

Best UK pharmaceutical stocks to watch

Pharmaceutical stocks have been receiving a lot of attention from traders and investors since 2020. Here, our picks for the top UK pharmaceutical stocks, based on the companies that are listed on either the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or alternative investment market (AIM):

  1. Novacyt SA
  2. 4D Pharma
  3. ValiRx

Best UK shares to watch now summed up

  • When looking for the best UK shares to trade or invest in, it’s important to pay attention to key macroeconomic trends and themes that will affect stock market performance for 2022 and possibly even beyond
  • Adapting to (or being disrupted by) ongoing Covid-19 developments, banking rates changes and the post-tech boom market could bring new opportunities of new UK stocks to watch
  • There are plenty of top UK shares to be found, from dividend shares to UK penny stocks, UK tech stocks, UK blue-chip stocks and UK pharmaceutical stocks
  • These shares have been picked by our in-house team, including IG analysts, based on their opinions of top stocks to watch and should not be constituted as financial advice, nor are they a substitute for researching and analysing any stock decisions you make
  • To invest in these sectors and the companies in them, you’ll need a share dealing account
  • To speculate on top stocks and industries, you’ll need a spread betting or CFD trading account

Footnotes

1 Trade in your share dealing account three or more times in the previous month to qualify for our best commission rates. Please note published rates are valid up to £25,000 notional value. See our full list of share dealing charges and fees.


This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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