Big money investors have over the last six months poured cash into the markets at the fastest pace in 17 years as they fretted over COVID-19 and the upcoming presidential election, according to a new survey from Bank of America.

Cash holdings fell to 4.4% in October, down from 4.8% in September, and have now dropped 1.5 percentage points since April, the fastest decline since 2003. A reading below 4% is considered investor greed.

Respondents “said the recession is over, reduce cash, pause cyclical rotation, and price in contested election & February vaccine,” wrote Michael Hartnett, chief equity strategist at Bank of America. “We say sell SPX > 3600 and cyclical rotation via banks/energy to resume in Q4.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SPX n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

TRUMP’S STOCK GAINS HIT REPUBLICAN RECORD

The Charlotte, N.C.-based lender surveyed 198 participants with $593 billion in assets under management between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8.

Thirty-four percent of respondents feared a second wave of COVID-19 was the biggest “tail risk” as expectations for the timing of a credible vaccine were pushed back from January 2021 to February 2021.

Absent the pandemic, investors were most worried about uncertainty caused by the upcoming presidential election, with 61% predicting the election will be contested.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said such an outcome was the one that would cause the most volatility. Another 14% forecast a Democratic sweep would shock markets while 8% feared a divided Congress and 4% were uneasy about a President Trump win.

On the economy, 60% of respondents said we are in an early-cycle phase as opposed to 26% who thought we were still in recession.

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The once-reliable river of emission-credits cash Tesla
TSLA
has used to boost its bottom line is in danger of drying up completely, with Europe’s legacy automakers building their own bridges over it.

A report in Europe today showed the Renault had grown its electric car (EV) sales beyond the point of self-sufficiency, and now had its own EV emissions credits for sale.

That could be a cruel blow to Tesla, which expected $1 billion in emission-credit revenues this year, and more to come.

Without the emission-credit revenues, Tesla would never have been able to claim four consecutive quarters of GAAP profitability this year.

Tesla soaked up $594 million in credit revenues in 2019 and $419 million in 2018, and emissions credits made up around seven percent of its total revenues in Q2 this year.

The world’s third-biggest auto-making alliance, Renault counts Nissan and Mitsubishi among the brands under its control and was the world’s biggest EV maker until the arrival of the Tesla Model 3.

It is pooling its emissions credits with both brands, which gives them huge EV volumes from the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf. So far this year, 11 percent of Renault’s passenger car sales in Europe have been EVs.

According to a report by the European Electric Car Report, Renault now has so much confidence in its ability to meet its EU7 emissions targets that it has thrown open invitations to join its CO2 emissions pool to other auto makers.

In a document published by the European Commission, Renault has given a

(Bloomberg) — An upcoming surge in euro-area bond sales should be more than swept up by the record amount cash of sitting idly in the economy, potentially adding fuel to the rally sweeping across the region’s debt markets.

Next week, bond offerings in the eurozone are expected to rise five-fold, with Germany, Italy and France, among others issuing a combined 30 billion euros ($35.4 billion) worth of securities, according to Commerzbank AG. That’s still less than the amount of debt coming due.

The supply also comes as excess liquidity in the euro area ballooned past the 3-trillion-euro mark for the first time ever last week, thanks to unprecedented support from the European Central Bank.



chart: Italy sells debt next week with yields at record lows


© Bloomberg
Italy sells debt next week with yields at record lows

The monetary authority’s liquidity injections have already pushed yields on some of the region’s riskiest borrowers to record lows. With speculation now growing that the ECB will expand and extend its program in December, demand for euro-area debt could prove solid at the auctions, spurring the next leg of the rally.

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“The period from now until year-end does provide a fertile backdrop for further spread compression,” UBS Group AG strategists including Rohan Khanna wrote in a note to clients, referring to the yield premium between peripheral debt and German bunds.

While U.S. election uncertainty could lead to some volatility, “the ECB has enough firepower to fight against any unwarranted widening in spreads,” Khanna said.

Read More: Corporate America Puts $2 Trillion in Bank in Run-Up to Election

Offering additional support will be around 41 billion euros of redemptions from Germany, Italy and Ireland, which will need to be reinvested. Meanwhile, coupon payments from these three nations and Portugal will total over 1 billion euros next week.

Budgets, Brexit

National finances will also

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  • Many freelancers have taken a financial hit since the start of the pandemic, and most government relief has run out.
  • If you need to increase your cash flow to save or pay bills, financial planner Ben Henry-Moreland recommends looking first at your spending to see where you can cut back.
  • Then, look into any government programs that are still available, such as the EIDL, and consider reducing your health insurance costs if you’re able.
  • You can also reach out to your network to get more work, and reduce your quarterly tax payments to the IRS if your income has gone down.
  • Get Personal Finance Insider’s free guide to financial planners »

If you’re a freelancer like I am, you know just how hard it can be to manage your money. For one thing, budgeting on an inconsistent income is like taming a beast in the wild. And  trying to save? That can feel like a lofty aspiration to spot Big Foot. Take into account the financial curveball that the pandemic has thrown at us, and it makes saving that much more challenging.

Now that some of the government-funded programs made available to self-employed folks because of COVID-19, namely the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded unemployment benefits, have lapsed, freelancers might feel even more squeezed financially. So how can you save — or even just meet your basic financial needs — despite all these hurdles?

Ben Henry-Moreland, a financial planner and founder of Freelance Financial Planning, has some advice.

Focus on your spending 

The only way to manage inconsistent income is

By Elisa Anzolin and Gavin Jones

ROME/MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s love affair with cash is fading. The coronavirus is turning Italians off notes and coins and the government is launching a raft of incentives to accelerate the trend, believing plastic payment can curb rampant tax evasion.

The Treasury estimates some 109 billion euros of tax is evaded annually, equal to about 21% of the revenue actually collected. The government believes the problem can be tackled by boosting digital payments which, unlike cash, leave a trace.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is offering refunds on some money spent electronically, tax breaks for outlets with card machines and a new 50-million euro ($58.93 million) state lottery for card users only.

The coronavirus, which forced the government to lock down the economy between March and May, is helping his efforts.

“We have seen a surge in digital payments since the lockdown, I think mainly because of people not wanting to touch notes and coins,” says Cinzia Di Siena, who has run a pharmacy in southern Rome for the last 13 years.

A study published last week by credit association Assofin, market research firm Nomisma and pollster Ipsos said the lockdown was a “major occasion for Italians to try out non-cash payments,” with almost eight out of 10 making purchases online.

It reported that 31% of Italians increased their use of e-commerce during the lockdown, versus 23% of respondents in the United States, 18% in Germany and 16% in Britain.

Despite the recent trend, Italy is nowhere near the level of cashless purchases seen in much of northern Europe. European Central Bank data shows card payments in Italy last year accounted for 12.3% of GDP, versus a euro zone average of 16.6%.

CASH PRICE OR CARD PRICE?

Many Italian market stalls and taxi drivers will