How to buy BP shares

BP is a British multi-national oil and gas giant. This page explains everything you need to know about BP, including the history of the company and its prospects for the future.
By: Charlie Hancox
Charlie Hancox
Alongside his passion for trading, Charlie has represented Great Britain and won national championships as a water polo player,… read more.
Updated: May 17, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

Before you invest in a company, it is a good idea to understand its fundamentals and potential, and that’s why we have compiled this guide. Find out about the history of BP and what its investment prospects are.

Compare the best BP trading platforms

Use of the links in the table below to get started straight away with a reliable broker. We have tested all of these options extensively to make sure they are up to the task. For more information on BP, scroll down this page.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Exclusive promotion
user-score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Exclusive promotion
user-score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

How to buy BP stock, a step-by-step guide

We have broken the process of getting started on the stock market down into the easy-to-follow steps you need to take to make an investment.

  1. Choose a broker. You will need to use an online brokerage platform. There are many different options to choose from, each with its 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, or check out our apps page.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 BP shares.
  4. Place an order for BP stock. Search for BP’s ticker symbol (BP) and see the current price at which the stock is trading. If you’re happy with the price, enter the number of shares you want and place your order.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your BP shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in BP!

What is BP? And should I invest?

Founded in 1909 and headquartered in London, BP is a multinational oil and gas provider and is one of the world’s seven oil and gas supermajors. The company is vertically integrated, meaning it operates in all sectors of the oil and gas industry including exploration, production, refining, distribution, marketing, power generation, and even trading. Moreover, the company has ventured into several renewable energy interests like solar panels, wind farms and biofuel.

The company has operations in around 80 countries internationally and is a large-cap stock on the LSE, FWB and NYSE. In addition, BP is part of the FTSE 100. This means it is largely a cyclical stock due to its close ties with broader market trends, and investors should keep this in mind. Invest in BP during a bull market and expect success, whereas anticipate the opposite in a bear market.

With a current dividend around 3.8p per share, this is a roughly 1% return on current trading price, and for investors who believe in the wider oil macro story, it certainly seems better than leaving one’s money in the bank.

How has the company performed in recent years?

As regards its share price, the past 5 years haven’t been particularly kind to BP, and this is likely because of increased pressure on oil and gas producers from environmentalists and the threat of obsoletion at the hands of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. The company’s net income has been hit particularly hard in recent times, and in 2020, it fell by a whopping 605% to minus $20.3 billion.

While numbers like these may induce panic amongst some investors, others have recognised the elephants in the room: COVID-19. Significantly less people have been driving and flying, which destroyed oil demand, and as a knock-on effect from the the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war, oil prices fell even further. However, some investors expect earnings to pick up in a post-lockdown world.

The company does appear to be recovering this year, and its stock has rallied somewhat. Provided it doesn’t experience a controversy akin to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, this resurgence appears set to continue.

Is it a good time to buy BP shares now?

It depends on your view of the oil market and BP’s fundamentals. A recovering market and a strong balance sheet could make BP appealing. In addition, the company is attempting to transition away from oil towards a hybrid energy business model that is more conducive with the new age of energy.

Renewable stocks have shown strength in recent years, and BP has highlighted this as an area with significant growth potential. It has now moved full-steam ahead, negotiating arrangements like a hydrogen production facility with Danish energy company Oersted, a green North Sea alliance with Royal Dutch Shell and Total, and even a strategic collaboration with Microsoft.

Some think BP is throwing a lot at the wall to see what sticks, while others see this as an exciting evolution of the company, meaning investing now could be prudent ahead of major growth into new sectors. To track the latest oil news and developments surrounding BP, view our most recent analysis below:

Shares of BP PLC (LON: BP.) rose 8% on Tuesday after the oil giant announced a dividend ‘reset’ by 50%. BP stock price is now trading above GBX300 again as it attempts to break the descending trend line.  Fundamental analysis: New strategy presented  BP reported a loss of $16.8…

Buying, selling and trading BP shares for beginners

What to do before buying shares

You should always take the time to research a stock fully before investing 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 BP shares.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company first. What is BP? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is BP’s revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about BP, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before you start investing 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Use our reviews to find the right platform for you.
  6. 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. While if the market is looking bullish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. Follow the news to stay on top of 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 BP shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.

Buying BP

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for BP 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.

Selling BP

When you sell any BP 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 the long term, hoping to benefit from the company growing steadily throughout. Or, if you see that BP’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 BP

Trading is the same process as above, 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 BP shares through dealing 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 

Share dealing refers to the practice of 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 a 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Takes a long time to realise any profits
  • Your capital is tied up in stocks and cannot be used for other investments

CFD Trading 

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 shares in BP then sell them 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 BP 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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, use our trading course and read our guide to CFD trading to get you up to speed. 

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 cryptocurrency and commodities.
  • 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. 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 with 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 BP news

British Petroleum (LON: BP) announced a $1.40 billion share repurchase for the third quarter on Tuesday and raised its dividend to 5.46 cents per share as earnings exceeded expectations in Q2. BP now expects a 4% increase in annual dividend through 2025 and roughly $1 billion of stock buyback…
Barclays’ analyst Lydia Rainforth sat with CNBC on Friday to discuss why she thinks BP plc (LON: BP) shares are the best in its class. The investment bank now rates the British multinational at ‘overweight’. BP’s production could slide 40% over the next ten years According to the oil…
British Petroleum plc (LON: BP) said on Tuesday that its earnings came in better than expected in the first quarter on the back of improved oil and gas prices. The company also authorised £360.15 million of share repurchase for Q2. BP shares jumped a little under 4% in…
British Petroleum plc (LON: BP) said on Tuesday that it is likely to hit the milestone of £25.26 billion in net debt well ahead of schedule in Q1 of the ongoing year, attributed to robust financial performance in recent months and disposal proceeds that it received sooner than expected.
British Petroleum plc (LON: BP) said on Tuesday that it concluded the fiscal fourth quarter in profit as prices showed signs of recovery in recent months after an unprecedented hit from the Coronavirus pandemic that has so far infected more than 3.8 million people in the United Kingdom and…
The discovery of a new strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom contributed to Monday’s selloff in energy and oil stocks, The Wall Street Journal reported. Oil down 4% amid rising concerns Brent crude oil prices were down 4.1% at $50.10 a barrel while WTI oil prices were…

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Charlie Hancox
Financial writer
Alongside his passion for trading, Charlie has represented Great Britain and won national championships as a water polo player, and as a budding film director, has… read more.