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How to buy Barclays shares (BCS)
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This guide will explain the tough times the banking sector has experienced over the last few years, as well as the moves Barclays has made to protect itself against economic shocks. You’ll find a history of how Barclays stock has performed and what might affect its share price.
Compare the best Barclays trading platforms
If you have all the information you need and just want to invest, you can get Barclays shares immediately by visiting one of our trusted brokers below. We’ve assessed all the best brokers and compared them so that picking the right choice is quick and easy. If you’re not ready to invest yet, keep reading for more information on Barclays.
How to buy Barclays stock, a step-by-step guide
It’s quite simple and straightforward to get started on the stock market, so don’t worry even if you’re new to investing. These are the steps to follow in order to complete your investment:
- Choose a broker. The first thing you need is an online brokerage platform. There are many different options to choose from, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The comparison table above can help you select the right broker for you, and you can head to our comprehensive broker reviews if you’re still unsure.
- Create an account. Once you’ve selected your broker, simply go to their website and create an account. The steps required for this will vary from platform to platform, but generally you can expect to have to provide your name, email address, phone number, and some form of photo identification.
- Deposit funds. Log into your broker account and select the option to deposit funds. Depending on your broker you’ll have a variety of payment options available; most brokers accept bank transfers and debit card payments, but not all accept e-wallets such as PayPal. Select your preferred payment method and deposit the amount of money you wish to invest in Barclays shares.
- Place an order for BARC stock. Now search for Barclays’s ticker symbol (BARC) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the amount of shares you want and place your order.
- Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your Barclays shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in Barclays!
What is Barclays? And should I invest?
Barclays (FTSE: BARC) is a British bank that operates investment, personal finance, and wealth management divisions across the world, with its main focus on core markets in the UK and US. Although Barclays traces its history back to the 17th Century, its modern iteration dates to 1896 and it has become a cornerstone of the British banking system. It trades on the London Stock Exchange.
Its shares fell by more than half – from 179.62p to 80p – in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit global markets. Even that precipitous fall pales in comparison to the effect of the 2008 financial crisis, prior to which shares in Barclays PLC had been trading at almost 800p. BARC stock is unlikely to scale those heights again, but it has rebounded from the 2020 plunge back towards pre-COVID-19 levels.
That rebound offers opportunities, although there are a number of factors to consider about the wider economic environment. British banks also have to abide by rules and interest rates set by the central bank – the Bank of England (BoE) – which means the decision over whether to pay out dividends can be taken out of their hands, as they were in 2020 in response to the pandemic.
How has the company performed in recent years?
BARC stock had been trending the wrong way during a difficult few years, with the Brexit vote and the coronavirus pandemic in particular causing substantial plunges in price. Base interest rates haven’t been above 1% since before the 2008 crisis and are now hovering around 0%, cutting Barclays’ loan margins finer than ever. With loan profitability hard to come by, Barclays has been trading at below its book value for a long time.
The investment arm of the group has performed well, particularly in response to the pandemic, but the UK banking sector as a whole has been affected by low interest rates plus regulators ensuring increased capital is kept back to protect banks and consumers from economic shocks. Barclays is no different, and money that might otherwise have gone to shareholders in the form of dividend payouts is one area that has been cut back.
Along with the economic uncertainty, Barclays has been hit by a series of bad news stories. It has had to deal with investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority and the US Department of Justice and had run-ins with climate change activists over its investment in fossil fuels. With those in the rear-view mirror, BARC stock bounced back reasonably well from the pandemic although a lot of uncertainty remains.
Is it a good time to buy Barclays shares now?
Banks tend to be a good guideline for the health of the overall economy and the pandemic is a reminder that this type of investment is always vulnerable to unpredictable market events. With that in mind, Barclays is more resilient now with increased capitalisation compared to the 2008 crisis and the ability to lean on its investment arm to benefit from market volatility.
The question marks are more to do with the economic situation as a whole, which means any potential buyer needs to assess how banks may benefit from more certainty in the aftermath of a UK-EU Brexit deal and as the immediate pressures of the pandemic are reduced. Similarly, the decision on restarting the Barclays dividend will most likely be made based on BoE guidance, which makes it another crucial news development to follow.
Those factors will affect Barclays stock in the short to medium term, while longer term investors will want to look for signs of interest rates changes. You can get Barclays stock information, follow all the latest news and read our up to date market analysis below.
Buying, selling and trading Barclays shares for beginners
What to do before buying shares
You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing your money, especially if you haven’t bought shares before. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of making a wise investment.
With that in mind, here’s a checklist to run through before investing in Barclays shares.
- Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company before buying its stock. What is Barclays? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is Barclays’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about Barclays, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
- Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before getting involved in the stock market, make sure you have an understanding of how it works. This will ensure that you have more clearly defined goals and have thought through how you will achieve them.
- Decide between share dealing and CFD trading. Choose the type of investment strategy you want to pursue, and make sure you have carried out the necessary fundamental or technical analysis for share dealing and CFD trading respectively.
- Set the size of your budget. The golden rule of investing is never to risk more than you can afford to lose. Not every investment you make will result in a profit, so it is important to set a budget that not only allows good potential for capital growth, but also protects against overly damaging losses.
- Find the right broker. Individual brokers each have their own pros and cons. Some will have low fees but have a user interface you struggle to understand, whereas others may be a bit more expensive but come with a range of features that you want to take advantage of. Our broker reviews can help you find the right platform for you.
- Examine broader market conditions. No stock exists in a vacuum, and it’s always important to analyse the general trends of the stock market as a whole before investing. If a bear market is setting in and stock prices are falling, it’s best to wait it out and invest your money later when the stock is cheaper. If, however, the market is looking bearish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. Our latest stocks news section can help you keep on top of movements in the financial markets.
What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?
If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of how to buy, sell, and trade shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.
This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for Barclays stock, as outlined in the steps further up this page. Ideally you want to time your investment when the stock’s price is low so that you can profit by selling the shares after they increase in value.
When you sell any Barclays shares you have bought, you’ll want to do so at a higher price than the one at which you bought to earn a profit.
When you sell is up to you. You might decide to hold for a long period of time, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that Barclays’s stock is already up a lot compared to the price you bought it and you’ve noticed that the stock market is starting to fall, it might make sense to sell and take your profits to invest elsewhere. Equally, if the stock has fallen since you bought it and looks set to fall further, it might be a good idea to cut your losses by selling your shares.
Trading is the same process as buying and selling shares, it’s just done over shorter periods of time with the aim to make small profits on a regular basis. This means that you can make money faster and spend your profits in your day-to-day life – however, on the other side it means you can lose money faster as well. For inexperienced investors, we generally recommend making investments for at least 6 months to a year instead of making trades in quick succession.
You can trade Barclays shares through buying and selling shares, or by trading with CFDs. These allow investors to speculate on stock prices and trade with leverage in pursuit of bigger gains. CFDs trading is explained further in the next section, but it is worth noting that beginners should avoid trading with leverage. It comes with large risks and is best left to experienced investors.
Share dealing vs CFD trading
When it comes to investing in any stock, the two options you have are share dealing and trading. Which one of these methods to opt for largely depends on your investment timeline, with investors thinking long term tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short term gains pursuing a more aggressive trading strategy.
Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.
Share dealing refers to the practice of buying and holding shares in a particular company over the long term. When investing like this, you’re seeking to profit either from dividend payments or an increase in the stock’s price over time.
When investing your money this way, it is important to do thorough fundamental analysis of the company in which you are investing. You want to put your money in a stock you believe will trend upwards over time, even if there is some market volatility along the way, rather than get distracted by shorter term peaks and troughs.
- Can build wealth over time to achieve financial goals
- Don’t need to be very reactive to short-term market movements
- Some stocks will give you an income through regular dividend payments
- Takes a long time to realise any profits
- Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments
If your aim is to generate profits in the short term, then you might be better off trading shares than holding them in your portfolio. Stock trades like this are executed using CFDs (contracts for difference), which allow investors to trade against the value of a stock without having to take ownership of it. When CFD trading, investors are looking to buy and sell stocks fast to profit from short-term fluctuations in value.
One aspect of CFD trading that many investors find attractive is that they allow you to trade with leverage. This means you can place large trades while only putting up a fraction of the value yourself – for instance, if a platform offered leverage of 1:10, you could put £10 into BARC shares and be able to trade £100 worth. This can maximise profits if the market moves in your favour, but be careful as it can also lead to heavy losses.
When trading using CFDs, it is key to be skilled at technical analysis and reading stock price charts. As you’re trading stocks quickly and frequently, the fundamental strength of the company in which you’re investing isn’t as important as being able to predict how its stock price will rise and fall minute-by-minute.
- Can generate fast profits if you read the market right
- Some platforms allow you to trade with leverage
- Prevents your capital being tied up so you can take advantage of investment opportunities
- Trading with leverage is risky and can lead to big losses
- Doesn’t necessarily generate growth over the long term
Consider which approach suits you best and craft an investment strategy that works for you. If you need more information, then simply take our stock trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed.
If neither of these options appeal to you, then you can find a variety of other ways to invest this page. If, however, you’re ready to start share dealing or CFD trading now, simply select one of the brokers in the table above and get started.
How to choose a broker
With the wide variety of online brokers available these days, it can be hard to figure out which is the best service to go with. Our comparison table and in-depth reviews can help you cut through the noise, but by and large these are the aspects you should be considering when selecting a broker:
- Range of stocks available. The most important thing is that you can actually use the broker to find the shares you’re looking for. Some brokers offer more stocks than others, and many will allow you to trade other assets, such as forex and cryptocurrency.
- Fees and commissions. You want to keep as large a chunk of your profits as you can, so it’s important to make sure your broker doesn’t charge high fees that can eat into your profits.
- Regulation. You should only use regulated brokers to place trades and buy shares. Unregulated brokers can be risky and offer little to no protection if the business were to fail while you had funds in your account.
- Payment methods available. You might want to fund your account using a specific payment method, such as PayPal. Not all brokers accept every payment method, but using our comparisons you can search only the brokers that support the option you’re looking for.
- Reputation. One of the strongest indicators of a broker’s reliability is the reputation it has with the customers who have used it. Brokers are online businesses, and as such many user experiences can be found online. You can check these out in addition to our reviews to make sure you choose the right platform.
- Customer service. As you’re going to be investing your money using the platform, you want to check that the broker offers good customer service in case you have a query or something goes wrong.
Latest Barclays news
FTSE 100 hits resistance ahead of BT, Lloyds, GSK, BAT, Shell earnings
Barclays invests in cryptocurrency firm Copper
Is the Barclays share price cheap enough ahead of earnings?
FTSE 100 forecast as the UK earnings season continues
Is the Barclays share price too cheap at its 52-week low?
Barclays pre-tax profit climbs over pre-pandemic levels in Q2
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Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >