US STOCKS-Wall St flat after Japan, China data; biotechs climb
* Merck to buy Cubist Pharma for $102 per share
* Japan, China data disappoints
* McDonald's falls after November sales
* Indexes: Dow off 0.06 pct, S&P 0.05 pct, Nasdaq up 0.17 pct (Updates to late morning)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, as investors weighed the strength of the U.S. economy against global growth concerns following soft data out of China and Japan, while biotechs rose on merger activity.
Major indexes opened slightly lower after data showed China's exports grew at a slower-than-expected pace and imports dropped 6.7 percent in November, while Japan's economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter.
But signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including Friday's payrolls report, helped investors shake off weakness in global economies. The S&P 500 closed Friday's session with its 49th record of the year, and is up more than 11 percent from an October low.
"Overall, the U.S. numbers still remain pretty strong, we had very strong numbers on Friday from the employment report, that's probably why you are seeing the strength here," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. Continuación...