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Which stocks are Junior ISA investors buying?

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Online trading platform The Share Centre has revealed the best selling stocks held in Junior ISA portfolios last year.

Lloyds Banking Group topped the ‘most popular’ stocks list, followed closely by Royal Dutch Shell and GlaxoSmithKline.

Oil giant BP and retailer Tesco rounded out the top five.

Sheridan Admans, investment research manager at The Share Centre, said: “The top five stocks in Junior ISAs, which are based on the number of deals completed by our customers, are not too dissimilar to that of our ISA investors.

“There could be two reasons behind this. Firstly, those investing for their children tend to reflect their own investments and stick to what they know. Most will tend to look at the bigger picture and opt for relatively longer term, familiar options. The list demonstrates this as our Junior ISA investors are seeking stability in the form of larger blue chip companies that offer a low to medium level of risk.

“Secondly, these could be companies that parents are hoping will recover over a longer period of time and subsequently provide superior returns, as they have all been exposed to miss-management or market forces in recent years.”

Below, Admans offers his thoughts on the top five best-sellers:

Lloyds Banking Group has been at the forefront of investors’ minds with continuing speculation around the sell down of the government’s stake. This has been postponed for now, due to unfavourable market conditions. We currently recommend Lloyds as a ‘hold’ for medium risk investors.

“In recent years Royal Dutch Shell has been going through some major capital investment programs and given the sharp fall in the price of oil, investors appear to be looking to benefit.  Over the last twelve months investors have seen the share price fall away however, the high dividend yield remains very attractive. We currently recommend the group as a ‘buy’ for medium risk investors.

GlaxoSmithKline’s defensive nature and the competitive yields paid to investors make this a core holding for many portfolios so it is unsurprising that the group features. Future improvement should be helped by a pipeline of new drugs, diversification across consumer healthcare as well as biotechnology, and increasing exposure to emerging markets. We currently recommend the company as a ‘buy’ for lower risk investors.

BP is notably the second oil company to appear in the top five list, with investors looking to take advantage of the share price falling to a five-year low as a result of the oil price fall. The group are being pro-active in the lower oil price environment and are looking to cut costs. Subsequently, we recommend BP as a ‘buy’ for medium risk investors.

“Fifth place Tesco is the one company that did not feature on the most popular ISA stocks list. The group is notably one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets in the UK so will be a familiar name amongst investors. The group’s CEO is turning the company around by regaining competitiveness in the core UK business, protecting and strengthening the balance sheet and rebuilding trust and transparency. It is however, still experiencing fierce price competition and promotions are likely to remain a squeeze on margins for some time. With the share price at a five year low, we currently recommend Tesco as a ‘hold’.”

In the 2015/16 tax year, the savings limit for Junior ISAs is £4,080.