Major indexes on Wall Street as well as Germany's DAX hit record highs on Friday, when the U.S. Labor Department said employers added 165,000 workers in April. The figure was above forecasts and hiring in February and March was also stronger than previously estimated. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest level in four years.
Investors turned more cautious on Monday as some focused once again on the problems facing the global economy. Though growth in the U.S. is holding up well, it is slowing in China. The 17-country eurozone remains in recession and unemployment there has been hitting a series of record highs.
By midafternoon in Europe, Germany's DAX was flat at 8,119.65 while France's CAC-40 was down 0.2 percent at 3,903.73. London trading was closed for a bank holiday.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 14 points at 14,960 points, a decline of 0.1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up two points at 1,616, or 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite was up nine at 3,387 points, or 0.2 percent.
Friday's job report counterbalanced weeks of mixed signals about manufacturing and corporate earnings and renewed hopes of a recovery in the world's largest economy.
"Markets just came back to life, helped by that strong reading from U.S. nonfarm payrolls. That number completely obliterated expectations," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne.
In Asia, Malaysia's KLSE Composite surged 3.4 percent to 1,752.02 after the country's governing coalition won national elections, albeit with a weakened majority, to extend its unbroken, 56-year rule.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1 percent to 22,915.09. Australia's S&P/ASX advanced 0.5 percent to 5,156.20. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose, while the Philippines fell. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 1,962.25. Japan's stock market was closed for a public holiday.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was down 48 cents to $95.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.62 to close at $95.61 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3074 from $1.3110 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 99.33 yen from 99.04 yen.