Let's Have a Good News Friday

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I can still remember when “Casual Friday” became all the rage.  (You youngsters thought there was always a “Casual Friday,” didn’t you?)  I know of one company where the “Casual Friday” expanded to five working days, so they instituted a “Tie Tuesday.”  I got to thinking this morning that today might be an ideal day to start a “Good News Friday.”

Today is perfect because we have learnt that mortgage lending is on the rise and the UK economy seems to be growing as well.  That’s news that should brighten one’s day – unless, of course, you’re unemployed.

Mortgage lending is up!

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has reported that the number of mortgages approved by British banks has increased by 30% over 2012.  Loans to new home buyers are up 31% and refinancing loans issued have risen 40%.   Before we all get overly excited, the news must be tempered a bit by the reality that the BBA Statistics Director shared, that “Mortgage activity has strengthened during 2013 with the help of Government schemes but high repayments and redemptions mean.  However, we are not seeing increases in net mortgage borrowing for the high street banks.”

The effect of ultra-low interest rates also means that borrowers are paying down their older, higher-interest loans faster instead of accumulating savings in accounts that provide almost no return.  My personal opinion – and please note that this my personal opinion – is that folks are generally doing the right thing, but that they need to go one step further and use some of that cash to begin some modest investments in the stock market where the gains can be considerably more.

The economy is growing!

During the first quarter of 2013 the UK Gross Domestic Product had increased by 0.3%.  Now the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had reported an additional 0.7% growth during the second quarter, up 0.1% over original, expert estimates.  The key word is that the economy is showing “momentum.”  Exports, manufacturing, construction, and services all exhibited signs of growth last month.

Speaking of exports, we have experienced a balance of trade that has increased in two consecutive quarters.  The last time that happened was at the end of the first quarter of 2011, two-and-one-half years ago.  The Treasury said that the economy is “moving from rescue to recovery.”  That, in itself, is a powerful and encouraging statement.

For the moment, at least, most of the signs are good.  The pound gained 0.3% against the U.S. dollar, recovering from yesterday’s lapse and the FTSE 100, 250, TechMARK, and AIM 100 are all up today by 1.01%, 0.96%, 0.75%, and 0.30%, respectively.

Tell you what.  Let’s ignore the rest of the news today.  Let’s just enjoy this news and have a “Good News Friday.”

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