Stocks hold steady on economy optimism

December 9, 2013: 7:34 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Stock markets were poised for a flat start Monday, as the market slows down following a better-than-expected jobs report.

U.S. stock futures were mixed ahead of the opening bell.

Marc Chandler, strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman, said investors seem undecided on the timing on when the Federal Reserve will pull back on its $85 billion a month bond purchasing. He said bonds did not sell off following the strong jobs report on Friday, so investors seem undecided as to whether the tapering is priced in, or whether it would have a sharp and immediate impact on markets beginning this month.

Friday's strong jobs report showed the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7% -- the lowest level since November 2008 -- as more people said they were getting jobs and joining the labor force.

That followed Thursday's report showing much stronger third-quarter growth in the U.S. economy than previously reported. And there was more positive news for the global economy over the weekend in the form of the first major world trade deal in nearly 20 years.

Related: No news may be good news for stocks

Markets surged Friday after the jobs numbers came out, with the Dow Jones industrial average rallying by nearly 200 points.

Investors are also looking ahead to a big Monday merger: American Airlines and US Airways (LCC) are set to come together to form the largest air carrier in the world. The combination of the two airlines is expected to create a company that's larger than the current industry leader, United Continental Holdings (UAL).

Related: American Airlines, US Airways to form largest air carrier

On the corporate side, automotive tire retailer Pep Boys (PBY) is among the small number of firms scheduled to report quarterly earnings after the bell.

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European markets were mostly higher in midday trading, while Asian markets ended with gains. Japan's Nikkei was a standout performer, rallying by 2.3% as the yen slipped against the U.S. dollar.

Markets
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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 6:58pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19