Europe's stock markets are once again feeling the pinch, with the Euro-Stoxx50 losing 0.9% (below 4,960), and the Paris Bourse posting a -0.7% decline to 7,940 (compared with 7,980 an hour earlier).

Activity is a little fuller than at the end of May (1.6 billion euros traded in 8 hours of trading, not huge but better than 1 to 1.2 billion euros at the end of May).

Wall Street tried to make up for its losses around 4pm (S&P and Nasdaq back in balance), but the buying flow fizzled out and all 3 indices are back in the red, with scores ranging from -0.1% to -0.4% (Nasdaq).

On a positive note, yields continued to ease, falling by -4.5pts on Bunds and OATs (to 2.538% and 3.026% respectively), followed by -4.5pts on US T-Bonds (to 4.354%, the third consecutive session of declines) and -4pts on the '30-yr' to 5.01%.

On the economic front, the agenda was relatively bare: all that was expected was US industrial orders (+0.7% in April) and the Jolts report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey).

The Labor Department counted 8.059 million job offers in April (March offers were revised downwards to 8.355 million).

In the same vein, this morning markets were informed of a fall in unemployment in Germany in May, pointing to a possible slow recovery in growth. According to data published on Tuesday by the Federal Labor Office, the number of jobseekers fell last month by 27,000 to around 2.72 million in seasonally-adjusted figures.

Markets are likely to remain cautious until the ECB's decisions are announced on Thursday, followed by a much-anticipated press conference by President Christine Lagarde.

The ECB's two-day meeting is expected to conclude with a 25 basis point cut in key rates, bringing them down to 3.75% for the deposit facility.

But investors will be watching closely for any hint of a future rate path, given that inflationary pressures are only gradually receding on the Old Continent... and wage costs are expected to remain above +4% annualized by the end of the year.

Some strategists are nonetheless expecting limited movements from indices, given the ECB's usually cautious approach to its outlook.

The markets' reaction may well turn out to be unremarkable, as has been the case following previous Governing Council meetings, and the announcement of a 25-point cut may well be regarded as a non-event by the markets", predict analysts at Danske Bank.

In parallel with the ECB's decisions, on Friday market participants will be following the publication of the monthly US employment report, which will provide them with further food for thought on the US economy.

On the oil front, Brent North Sea crude (-1.5% to $77) confirmed its decline below $80 a barrel, sinking below $78 for the first time since February, despite OPEC+ extending its agreement to limit production.

WTI is trading at $72.9 a barrel (-1.6%) on the NYMEX.

In news from French companies, TotalEnergies (-2.8%) announces the signature of two new medium- and long-term contracts for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia, enabling it to secure medium-term outlets and strengthen its presence in these markets.

Crédit Agricole SA reports that its subsidiary Indosuez Wealth Management, having obtained the necessary authorizations, has finalized the acquisition of Degroof Petercam, becoming its majority shareholder (65% of the capital) alongside CLdN Cobelfret (nearly 20%).

Finally, on the occasion of ASCO, Sanofi reports positive data from the IMROZ phase III study, evaluating its Sarclisa in experimental use in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma not eligible for transplantation.

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