UK share prices are generally a touch higher today. Among the most popular sectors are mining stocks such as Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN) (LSE:GLEN.L) and BHP Billiton plc (LON:BLT) (LSE:BLT.L). Their shares are 2.3% and 1.3% higher respectively.
Much of this is due to a surging copper price which has helped the basic resources index in Europe reach its highest level in 2.5 years. I’m optimistic about the prospects for shares in Glencore and BHP Billiton. I think the two companies have reorganised in recent years to create stronger, more sustainable investment opportunities. A stronger dollar may also help Glencore and BHP Billiton’s profitability, which I think makes them relatively appealing long-term investments.
Also popular among investors today are shares in house builders such as Persimmon plc (LON:PSN) (LSE:PSN.L) and Taylor Wimpey plc (LON:TW) (LSE:TW.L). Those two stocks are 0.8% and 0.7% higher respectively so far today. I think they could have a difficult year as consumer expenditure could be hurt by rising inflation. This could make mortgages less affordable.
However, in the long run I think Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have investment appeal. The number of houses built each year is massively below the required rate and I can’t see this situation changing over, say, the next five years. Therefore, I believe Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey may not rise all that much in 2017, but I think their share prices could move higher after that.
One of the fastest-rising shares today is AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN) (LSE:AZN.L). Its stock price is 0.7% higher so far today. I think more gains could be ahead because its pipeline is strengthening. I like the potential for greater leverage and its defensive qualities, which I think could make it even more popular among investors this year. I may even consider trading it through a CFD or spread betting account, but really my focus is on AstraZeneca’s long-term outlook.