Are we in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy cheap UK shares?

| Last Updated July 7, 2022

downtown london representing cheap UK shares

The UK shares and the stock market, in general, have slumped over concern about inflation and the Bank of England’s tightening monetary policy. And the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, combined with skyrocketing energy bills, has only fueled the concerns surrounding the UK economy further.

Meanwhile, investors across the pond in the United States are describing the current stock market correction as a simple return to normalcy. And it’s easy to see why. After all, plenty of shares listed in North America, especially tech stocks, were trading at pretty lofty valuations.

Regardless, it does beg the question – now that prices have dropped so drastically, is this a rare opportunity to buy UK equities at massive discounts in my Stocks and Shares ISA?

The FTSE 100 performance

The FTSE 100 consists of the largest 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. And despite all the stock market turmoil seen in recent months, the index is only down by around 3.3% since the start of the year.

This drop from 7,384 to 7,232, with multiple dips and peaks along the way, does not indicate much of a crisis. But a different picture is painted by zooming in on some specific companies within the FTSE 100 whose share price has tumbled drastically. So for the businesses that have stumbled by double-digits, is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy these seemingly cheap UK shares?

Maybe. Let’s explore further.

What’s happening with UK shares?

Market specialists say cheap UK shares are an investor’s first pick nowadays. Why? Because the UK market hosts a lot of value stocks. And considering the volatility in the US market, which is expected to ricochet across the globe, making these types of investments might be the best approach forward.

James Lowen, senior fund manager of JOHCM UK Equity Income, recently said:

“Rising interest rates, changing leadership towards value, financials, and commodities is the key that could lock this undervaluation and help sustain the trend we have seen year to date – namely UK outperforming.”

In other words, investors are focusing more on net income and earnings growth rather than revenue expansion. And that could spell trouble for many unprofitable growth stocks, even the ones which enjoyed enormous gains these past few months. Oddly enough this value investing approach is what Warren Buffett has been using for decades, generating a multi-billion-dollar fortune in the process.

When will the stock market recover?

As simple as this question is, sadly, there is no definite answer to it. History is full of a variety of examples. No market slump matches the previous one. Therefore, it is very difficult to predict. Also, these situations often have very few similarities beyond the bearish trend. That makes it near impossible to predict when the stock market will recover.

However, I can say with confidence that a recovery is on the way. After all, history has demonstrated time and time again that the stock market always rebounds to new heights after a downturn. And this recovery may have already started.

That’s why now might be the best time to take advantage of cheap UK shares before it’s too late. But of course, stock prices could continue to decline further. Therefore, personally, I plan on drip-feeding money into my investment portfolio, buying in smaller chunks over the course of several weeks or even months. Why? Because if prices do continue to fall, the average price I pay for high-quality companies will fall.

Investing in cheap UK shares     

In my opinion, now is an excellent time to buy cheap UK shares. Undoubtedly, the global economy will take time to settle, especially with the changing geopolitical and economic landscape. And volatility can be expected moving forward. But strong businesses know how to adapt. And since I’m focused on the long term, I see nothing but opportunities with British stocks for my portfolio ahead.

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Saima Naveed does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Money Cog has no position in any of the companies mentioned. Views expressed on the companies and assets mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the opinions of analysts in The Money Cog Premium services.