What is historically one of Wall Street's best months may not live up to that billing this time around.
The first trading session of December got off to a less-than-positive start Monday, with investors bypassing a better-than-expected manufacturing report and mixed indicators on the holiday shopping season to engage in across-the-board selling.
The culprit? Most likely the fact that the S&P 500 is positioned for its best year in a decade, up more than 26 percent in 2013.
(Read more: Get ready for 10 percent drop: Goldman)
"We've had such a strong year," said Ian Kerrigan, an investment specialist at JPMorgan Private Bank. "If the market wants to take a break in December, it's well-deserved."
There's also a reluctance to take major positions before the release of the nonfarm payrolls report Friday, particularly considering its potential impact on U.S. monetary policy.
Wall Street could well have "a buyer's strike, as there is no incentive to put capital at risk, especially with the jobs report," Kerrigan said. "We're cautious. It's hard to chase when you're up 26 percent and up 13 percent the year before."