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Why now might be a once-in-a-decade chance to build a supercharged Stock and Shares ISA

Mature couple in a discussion while eating a meal in a restaurant.
Image source: Getty Images

The Stocks and Shares ISA is a tax-free vehicle for my investments. The wrapper is easy to set up and current regulations allow me to put aside as much as £20,000 every year.

But I don’t have to put in £20,000 in one go. I can start with whatever I can afford and elect to top it up during the year (and in subsequent years) if I have the money to spare. I use the Hargreaves Lansdown platform, as personally, I believe it’s the best.

I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s great for me. However, if I hadn’t already started a Stocks and Shares ISA, I believe that now might be great time to do so. In fact, I believe that now is a chance to build a supercharged ISA that we might not see again in this decade.

Why now?

The FTSE 100 is be pushing above 7,500 again, but this figure conceals some areas of weakness. The index has been pulled upwards by soaring resource stocks, while many sectors have faced severe challenges amid rising inflation and an evolving recessionary environment.

As such, there are many stocks in sectors such as housebuilding, retail, and banking that are trading at considerable discounts versus this time a year ago. For example, housebuilder stock Persimmon, is down 50%! Of course, it’s worth remembering that stocks are often cheap for a reason.

The challenge is finding stocks that are actually meaningfully undervalued. And this requires research.

Finding meaningfully undervalued stocks

Investors and analysts all have their own ways of valuing stocks. But these valuations are normally based on core metrics.

There are simple near-term metrics such as the price-to-earnings ratio and the enterprise value (or EV) to EBITDA ratio. These metrics provide us with a basic understanding of a company’s worth. But they’re only really useful when used to compare them to other stocks in the same sector.

Other valuations, where we look at the value of an investment over time, require us to forecast future earnings or cash flow. This can be difficult, but we can use past cash flow growth as being indicative of future cash flow.

As a future precaution, it’s worth recognising that cash flow over the past few years could be irregular given the unique economic conditions brought about by the pandemic.

The discounted cash flow model is one such method. This valuation metric attempts to determine the value of an investment today, based on projections of how much money that investment will generate in the future.

Aiming to supercharge my portfolio

By investing now in undervalued stocks, I’m aiming to supercharge my portfolio when the market recovers. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve just got to be cautious that the stocks I’m buying really are meaningfully undervalued. Investors like Warren Buffett search for a margin of safety, meaning the share price of a stock indicates a 30% discount versus what he believes it should be worth.

Buying low also allows me to take advantage of inflated dividend yields. Because when share prices go down — assuming dividend payments remain constant — the dividend yield goes up.

Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future. The content in this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be, neither does it constitute, any form of tax advice. Readers are responsible for carrying out their own due diligence and for obtaining professional advice before making any investment decisions.

The post Why now might be a once-in-a-decade chance to build a supercharged Stock and Shares ISA appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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James Fox has positions in Persimmon Plc. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Motley Fool UK 2023