How to buy National Express shares (NEX)

The public transport company National Express was hit hard by a pandemic that slashed commuter numbers. Find out whether now is a good time to buy National Express.
Updated: Jul 6, 2023

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This guide will look at a brief history of National Express, its recent performance, the latest news, and the signs you should look out for before investing. You will also find a comparison of the best brokers to use.

Compare the best National Express trading platforms

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If you have all the information you need and just want to invest, head straight to one of the brokers below. We’ve assessed all the best platforms and compared them so that picking the right choice for you is quick and easy. Otherwise, keep reading for more information on National Express.

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77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

How to buy National Express stock, a step-by-step guide

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This simple five-step guide takes you through the process of making your first investment. It’s not complicated, so don’t worry even if you’ve never done it before.

  1. Choose a broker. The first thing you need to do is find an online trading 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.
  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 National Express shares.
  4. Place an order for NEX stock. Search for National Express’ ticker symbol (NEX) 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.
  5. Execute your order. Once you have placed your order, your broker will automatically execute it for you and your National Express shares will be listed in your account. Congratulations, you’ve just bought shares in National Express!

What is National Express? And should I invest?

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National Express (LON: NEX) is a British public transport company that offers coach and bus travel as well as rail services in 10 countries around the world, as well as international coach travel around Europe. National Express was born out of the public National Bus Company in the UK and was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1992.

The original National Bus Company was state owned until the 1980s and the private company has continually expanded by bringing more local transport lines in the UK under its control. In the 2010s, it began acquiring routes in Europe as well. It previously owned the East Coast rail franchise in the UK before that route was taken back into public ownership in 2009.

National Express suffered badly from the coronavirus pandemic, which devastated its passenger numbers and hurt its fleet of school buses in the US. Prior to that fall, it had been recording record passenger totals which could indicate the underlying strength of the business and make it ripe for a rebound investment. While you’re here, feel free to read our other educational stock trading articles that feature crucial investing principles to boost your chances of investment success.

How has the company performed in recent years?

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National Express performance can be split into two camps, before and after COVID-19. Before, it had been performing well, generating record passenger numbers and earning lucrative contracts in new markets, like Morocco. After, the entire industry suffered as passengers shunned public transport and many of its markets were working from home.

The coronavirus pandemic dealt a huge blow to National Express. It lost three quarters of its value in a fortnight as early lockdowns came into force. Ridership and mileage fell 80% and it registered a 60m interim loss in 2020. Half its revenue comes from North America and that also suffered when schools closed and demand for school buses evaporated.

NEX recovered some of its value as 2020 dragged on, it used government loan schemes and a share placing scheme to cope, while its position in public transport meant it could continue to run services even with very few passengers. Unfortunately continued lockdowns and a wariness of passengers to return to commuting, as well as schools remaining closed in many places, caused a stall in its recovery.

Is it a good time to buy National Express shares now?

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The challenge for an investor is to work out if, when and how quickly to expect a recovery towards ‘normality’ after the pandemic. Buying National Express is to accept some uncertainty, as what a post-pandemic world looks like is going to play a major role in whether the company can bounce back to its pre-COVID levels.

Prior to the pandemic, NEX had been generating record turnover and passenger numbers. It protected itself against the immediate collapse of demand thanks to its capitalisation and being able to draw on reliable sources of funds without resorting to ever more debt. Its value had been growing steadily prior to 2020. Now, though, public transport is one of the most uncertain industries around.

Despite its underlying strength, how quickly passenger numbers rebound, even after lockdowns are lifted across the world, will be key to re-establishing revenue for National Express. Short-term traders might want to explore the prospect of a rebound towards 2019 highs but that also relies on some semblance of normality returning and a bounce in consumer confidence to travel. You can keep up with all the latest news on that, as well as our market analysis, below.

Buying, selling and trading National Express shares for beginners

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What to do before buying shares

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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 you start.

  1. Research the company. You should always examine the fundamentals of a company first. What is National Express? How did the company get its start? How did it grow? Is National Express’ revenue and profit growth picking up? Is the company innovating? The more you know about National Express, the better positioned you’ll be to make smart investment decisions.
  2. Make sure you understand the basics of stock investing. Before deciding to invest 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. Our trustworthy broker reviews can help you 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. If, however, the market is looking bearish, you’ll want to make your investment quickly to get the maximum benefit from rising stock prices. The news segment of our website can help you keep on top of movements in the financial markets.

What is the difference between buying, selling, and trading shares?

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If you’re new to stock investing, then it’s important to understand the basics of how to buy, sell, and trade National Express shares. Here’s a quick run-through of what’s involved in each.

Buying National Express

This process involves finding a broker and placing an order for National Express 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 National Express

When you sell any National Express shares, 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 National Express’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 National Express

Trading is the same process, 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 National Express 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

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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 long-term investors tending to go for share dealing, and those looking for short-term gains pursuing an aggressive trading strategy.

Here’s a quick summary of the two approaches, and the pros and cons of each.

Share dealing 

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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 from either 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.


  • 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 derived from 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

CFD Trading 

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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 NEX 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. 

How to choose a broker

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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 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 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 use a specific payment method, such as PayPal, to fund your account. 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 National Express news

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National Express Group plc (LON: NEX) said on Thursday that it concluded 2020 with a pre-tax loss due to the COVID-19 restrictions that weighed on its revenue. The Coronavirus pandemic has so far infected more than 4.2 million people in the United Kingdom and caused over 125 thousand deaths. Nationa
National Express (LON: NEX) revealed £61 million of pre-tax loss on Thursday in the first six months of the current fiscal year. In the same period last year, it had recorded £114.6 million of profit. National Express acknowledged the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on travelling and
Statements regarding Brexit are pouring in every other hour making it difficult for the investors to decide their stance. Traders are seen construing the events as rising optimism one day and interpreting as false hopes the other. The soaring uncertainty is being perfectly mirrored in the FTSE 100 i

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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is a lead content editor for Invezz. He's an avid trader and golfer, who spends an inordinate amount of time watching Leicester City and the... read more.