Good morning, it's Paul here.

Amazingly, over 2,000 subscribers people have entered the 2020 Stock Challenge. Here is the link to the leaderboard, which you might like to bookmark, if you entered the competition.

Estimated completion time today is 2pm, but it's mostly done already (at 12:24)

EDIT at 12:53 - today's report is now finished.

Sending large payments

Whilst I remember, here is a really useful tip for when you, or your solicitor, need to move large amounts of money, e.g. to buy a house, or car, etc.. What I do, is input the payee's bank details onto my online banking, then send them £1 through faster payments. That's virtually instant, so the payee confirms receipt within a few minutes usually. Once they've confirmed receipt, you know their bank details are correct, and can safely send the rest of the money.

Sorry if this is obvious, but I've mentioned it to a few friends, who all said "What a good idea, I'll do that!". This was prompted by a recent newspaper article about a pensioner who gave the wrong details, and sent his £140k to the wrong account. The couple who received it, promptly spent half of the money, claiming that they thought it was an inheritance they were due (yeah, right!). The pensioner is now struggling to get his money back.

Consumer confidence

Since consumer spending makes up a large part of the UK economy, 66% of GDP on average, according to Google, then it makes sense for investors to track consumer confidence stats.

I follow the monthly press releases from GfK here (worth bookmarking). I've mentioned before recently, that the decisive general election result should be very positive for consumer confidence. My view for a while has been that political uncertainty, and the nightmare scenario of a Corbyn Govt destroying the economy, was a far bigger worry than Brexit.

This link is also worth a look, for longer term consumer confidence charts, which helps put recent data into perspective.

Hence I've been eagerly awaiting the latest consumer confidence stats for Dec 2019. The usual table is as follows;


As you can see above, consumer confidence improved by 3 points in Dec 2019, but is still negative at -11 - it's a simple index, where…

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