Wall Street closes lower, but once again, the gaps don't go very far when the bullish rally comes to a halt. At the close, the three main indices posted declines of -0.4% on average, with a wide range of scores.

To put it simply, the Dow Jones lost -0.2%, the S&P500 -0.4% (weighed down by the oil sector) and the Nasdaq -0.6% (weighed down by Nvidia -2.3%, Intel -1.6% and AMD -1.3%). The VIX edged up by +0.7% to 12.95, which does not deny the "full risk on" climate.

Of particular note - and this is the 'fact of the day' - is the -4% drop in oil prices in 'capitulation' mode (-10% since the end of November): they fall below $70 a barrel for the first time since the beginning of July, to around $69.25, the lowest closing price since June 28... and natural gas also plummets by -6%.

Investors were initially reassured by figures from ADP: according to its latest survey, the US private sector created only 103,000 jobs in November, well below expectations.

This indicator, which comes two days before the much-awaited official Department of Labor ('NFP') statistics, triggered a further fall in bond yields. At less than 4.12%, the yield on US ten-year paper erased -5 basis points and returned to its lowest level since the end of August.

Investors also took note of non-farm productivity revised upwards by +0.5 points to 5.2% in the third quarter (in perfect alignment with GDP), and of a US trade deficit which widened to $64.3 billion in October.

Investors continue to bet on a forthcoming rate cut in the US, even though Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned last Friday that there was still a long way to go before inflation would be brought down to around 2%.

For the time being, markets are counting on a 55% probability of a Fed rate cut in March, according to the CME Group's FedWatch barometer... and an easing as early as January garners 15% of votes.

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