Calm returned to the stock market Monday after a spasm of fearful selling last week. Major market indexes were mixed in early trading.
The Dow Jones industrial average opened at its lowest level since December after a 275-point sell-off on Friday caused by grim economic signals, especially a dismal report on the U.S. labor market.
Bond investors were less concerned about the finances of some troubled European countries. Bond yields fell for Italy and Spain, meaning that they appear less likely to default. Lower bond yields mean decreased borrowing costs for those debt-strapped nations.
The Dow fell 17 points to 12,101 in the first hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 to 1,275. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2 to 2,749.
European stocks were mixed. Asian shares closed sharply lower, extending Friday's selling.
The price of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell, lifting its yield to 1.52 percent. The yield hit a record low of 1.44 percent on Friday as fears of a global slowdown increased demand for safe investments.
As the outlook for the U.S. economy darkens, Europe faces other threats. Spain's banks are in shambles, and Cyprus appears close to joining the club of bailed-out countries that already includes Greece, Portugal and Ireland.
Voters in Greek elections this month might choose leaders who intend to reject Europe's bailout money and harsh spending cuts. That could lead to Greece's expulsion from the euro, potentially rattling financial markets.
Among stocks making big moves, Chesapeake Energy rose 2 percent after the company said it would replace four board members. The second-biggest U.S. natural gas company is under pressure from the activist shareholder Carl Icahn, who acquired a 7.6 percent stake in the company. Homebuilder Lennar fell 3.4 percent, following an 8 percent drop Friday. The stock is down 11 percent since April 1.
Stock indexes rose in France, Spain and Italy. German stocks were lower. Earlier Monday, Asian markets were rattled by Friday's U.S. jobs report and signs of slower growth in China. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.7 percent, its biggest slide this year.