Britain’s most-bought shares w/e 12 August

A look at Britain’s most-bought shares as of 12 August, providing an insight into how investors are thinking and where opportunities may lie.

Vodafone shop
Vodafone is this week's most popular buy
(Image credit: © Matt Fowler / Alamy)

These are the most-traded shares across UK markets last week. The figures provide a great insight into the way investors are thinking and where there could be opportunities.

While this information is only a small sample of the UK stockmarket, it can provide a great starting point for further research.

Most-bought blue-chip stocks

Top five most bought FTSE 100 shares according to the UK’s largest online stockbroker, Hargreaves Lansdown:

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1Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD)
2Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY)
3United Utilities Group (LSE: UU.)
5Haleon (LSE: HLN)

The most-bought list of FTSE 100 stocks has been dominated by resource companies in recent weeks. However, last week it seems there was a big change in investor sentiment.

Commodity stocks are now seemingly out of favour. They’ve been replaced by blue-chip utilities, telecom, healthcare and retail.

Water is one of the market’s most defensive sectors. Not only is there always a demand for water, but most companies have a monopoly over the regions they operate. They’re also usually able to hike bills in line with inflation. This makes them the perfect stocks to own to weather inflationary forces, which might explain why United Utilities was one of the most-bought FTSE 100 stocks last week.

GSK and Haleon also proved popular following sudden share price falls. Both companies are exposed to litigation related to the heartburn drug Zantac. This could lump the companies with multi-billion dollar legal bills, and the market has been selling the stocks rather than risk exposure to rising costs.

Most-bought small and mid-cap stocks

The most-bought non-blue-chip stocks on the Freetrade, IG Group and Hargreaves Lansdown platforms in no particular order:

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ITM power plc (LSE: ITM)
Boohoo(LSE: BOO)
Revolution Beauty Group (LSE: REVB)

It was a quiet week for small and mid-cap stocks last week.

Revolution Beauty Group bucked the trend, earning itself a place on the list of the most-bought stocks even though the firm warned investors that it could have to restate its financial position.

In a trading update published on 11 August, the company told investors that its auditors have “raised certain accounting issues with management,” in preparation of its accounts for the period ending 28 February.

The update noted that these issues could “have a material impact on the results,” although it is confident that its financial position reported at the end of July (net debt of £21.2m) is reliable and there’s plenty of headroom on its borrowing facilities to provide “sufficient liquidity” for the future.

Most-bought investment trusts

Top five most bought investment trusts according to Barclays Smart Investor:

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1Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (LSE: SMT)
2Greencoat UK Wind (LSE: UKW)
3The Renewables Infrastructure Group (LSE: TRIG)
4Polar Capital Technology Trust (LSE: PCT)
5City of London Investment Trust (LSE: CTY)

Scottish Mortgage remained the most popular investment trust on the Barclays Smart Investor platform. But the others on the list suggest investors are preparing for a period of prolonged uncertainty, and they seem to be sheltering in trusts with exposure to green energy.

Greencoat UK Wind owns and operates a portfolio of wind farms around the UK. Meanwhile, the Renewables Infrastructure Group owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy assets. In an increasingly uncertain economic climate, with rising hydrocarbon prices, money is flooding into green energy assets, which have the potential to offer secure, inflation-linked returns as well as a steady income for investors.



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Rupert Hargreaves

Rupert was the former Deputy Digital Editor of MoneyWeek. He's an active investor and has always been fascinated by the world of business and investing. 

His style has been heavily influenced by US investors Warren Buffett and Philip Carret. He is always looking for high-quality growth opportunities trading at a reasonable price, preferring cash generative businesses with strong balance sheets over blue-sky growth stocks. 

Rupert has freelanced as a financial journalist for 10 years, writing for several UK and international publications aimed at a range of readers, from the first timer to experienced high net wealth individuals and fund managers. During this time he had developed a deep understanding of the financial markets and the factors that influence them. 

He has written for the Motley Fool, Gurufocus and ValueWalk among others. Rupert has also founded and managed several businesses, including New York-based hedge fund newsletter, Hidden Value Stocks, written over 20 ebooks and appeared as an expert commentator on the BBC World Service. 

He has achieved the CFA UK Certificate in Investment Management, Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment Investment Advice Diploma and Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment Private Client Investment Advice & Management (PCIAM) qualification.