Stocks Take a Breather
The S&P 500 is down 0.1%, although it was down as much as 0.7% shortly after the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%), the Nasdaq Composite (-0.2%), and the Russell 2000 (-0.1%) have also staged steady rebound efforts from their opening lows.The S&P 500 sectors are mixed with utilities (-0.8%) and energy (-0.4%) on the downside and consumer staples (+0.2%), consumer discretionary (+0.2%), and financials (+0.2%) on the upside.The early weakness was presumably a function of profit taking versus a news-driven catalyst forcing a change in sentiment. The S&P 500 was up 10.4% from its Dec. 24 low entering today's trade, suggesting to many that the broader market has gotten overbought on a short-term basis and is due for a pullback. That same notion, however, was what many attributed yesterday's slow start to and the market ended up putting together a buy-the-dip rally that left the indices at their best levels of the day by the closing bell.  Market participants are anxious to see if that same dynamic endures today.In key corporate news, General Motors (GM 37.94, +3.22, +9.2%) increased its adjusted fiscal 2018 and 2019 earnings above consensus due to cost cuts, strong demand for its light trucks, and success in China. GM's strength has provided solid support for the consumer discretionary sector (+0.2%) today, yet it hasn't provided much ballast for the broader market.The lack of a distinctly positive reaction in the market to GM's upbeat earnings news is seen by some as being a reflection of a market that is tired and due to see some consolidation.Activision Blizzard (ATVI 46.14, -5.23) for its part has been a drag on the broader market with a steep loss of 10.2%. The company announced it will not recognize material revenue, operating income, or operating loss from the Destiny franchise in 2019 after terminating its relationship with video game developer Bungie.U.S. Treasuries have edged higher, pushing yields lower across the curve. The 2-yr yield and 10-yr yield are down three basis points each to 2.54% and 2.70%, respectively, bolstered in part by this morning's calm consumer inflation report. The U.S. Dollar Index is flat at 95.54. WTI crude is down 1.8% at $51.65/bbl.Reviewing today's economic data, which included the Consumer Price Index for December:The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December was right in-line with the Briefing.com consensus estimates that called for a 0.1% month-over-month decline in total CPI and a 0.2% increase in core CPI, which excludes food and energy.The key takeaway from the report is that it supports the Fed's born-again belief that it can be patient with its policy approach given that the core inflation trend is stable around the longer-run target at a time when data here and abroad is revealing some softening in economic activity.