Even as the major averages were pulling back on the heels of last week's volatile week of trading, Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital said Monday that he thinks "if the S&P 500 holds around the present levels, the worst of the decline is behind us." "Indeed, the market is looking to stabilize notwithstanding the weekend rhetoric concerning the fiscal cliff, China's exports reaching a five-month high is another indication of the Chinese economy stabilizing, a positive for the global economy. Today's domestic M&A news also helping the market in the absence of macro news," said Cardillo. Meantime, both Democrats and Republicans expressed confidence that they could reach a deal to avoid plunging off the fiscal cliff, though provided little detail beyond that. No major U.S. economic releases were expected Monday. The bond market was closed and most federal workers were off in observance of Veteran's Day. Economic releases later this week include the consumer price report on Thursday and several manufacturing indicators, such as the Empire manufacturing, Philly Fed, and industrial production reports. There will also be retail sales data on Wednesday, where there could be distortions due to Hurricane Sandy. The FTSE 100 in London settled down by 0.04%, while the DAX in Germany finished up 0.07%. Japan's Nikkei average settled down 0.93% on Monday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed higher by 0.21%. Gold for December delivery closed unchanged at $1,730.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts fell 50 cents to settle at $85.57. The dollar was down 0.01%, according to the U.S. dollar index . The bond market was closed. In corporate news, Leucadia National ( LUK) agreed to acquire Jefferies Group ( JEF), the two companies announced on Monday. Jefferies shares soared 14%; Leucadia shares fell 3%. Titanium Metals ( TIE) shares surged 42.6% after the titanium manufacturer entered a deal to be bought by Precision Castparts ( PCP) for $16.50 a share in cash, putting the value of the company at about $2.9 billion. Precision Castparts shares rose 4.9%.