We needed an ‘at or above expectations’ number on the US non-farm payrolls today and in the very broadest sense it just has not delivered. Payrolls rose only 661,000 against expectations of a 900,000 gain. This was the last non-farms report before the US election and one in which both political sides have a keen interest – would there be clear evidence that the jobs market was improving or is the pandemic delaying any spluttering recovery? Well it seems that the jobs numbers have underwhelmed and point to a slowing recovery. To couple with this, the average hourly earnings were also weaker than forecast. Strangely, the unemployment rate went down from 8.4% to 7.9% and it feels that investors are looking for any consolation they can get today following news of Trump’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis. It goes without saying that the next week will be crucial to sentiment.