Stocks opened lower as the recent two-week rally appeared ready to pause. The market moved in a relatively narrow range throughout the session, allowing the averages to finish with their third consecutive weekly gain. Oil prices, meanwhile, closed lower to snap a nine-session winning streak. The government shutdown is entering its third weekend with no end in sight, though so far the market has been taking it in stride. Next week will tell if that continues as reporting begins for the latest earnings season.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Consumer Prices Index fell 0.1% month-over-month in December, with the core rate rising 0.2%, both as projected. The CPI was up 1.9% year-over-year in December, also matching the consensus projection. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is unchanged from last week at 1,075 rigs.
COMPANY NEWS: Shares of General Motors (GM) rose 7% after the carmaker announced that it expects 2018 adjusted EPS and adjusted automotive free cash flow to exceed its previously provided guidance. GM also provided FY19 EPS guidance of $6.50-$7.00, which is far ahead of the consensus view of $5.88 prior to the company's outlook.
In a regulatory filing, a subsidiary of Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) disclosed that it intends to commence preliminary talks with investors in connection with a potential senior unsecured notes offering intended to partially fund an $8.5B dividend payment to the company in accordance with its merger plan with Disney (DIS). In connection, Fox confirmed that it does not intend to bid for any of the Fox regional sports networks that Disney, or any entity operating on its behalf, may sell as required by the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the media companies' planned tie-up.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) fell 9.4% after the video game maker announced last night that Bungie will assume full publishing rights and responsibilities for the Destiny franchise.
Netflix (NFLX) got an early boost after both UBS and Raymond James told investors to buy the stock in new upgrades. The stock pulled back a bit, however, after Citron Research tweeted that it sees shares heading back to $300 following the stock's recent rally. Shares of Netflix closed 4% higher.
Additionally, Perrigo (PRGO) shares rose 3.3% after Bloomberg reported that the company is considering shelving its plans to expand in Ireland.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Tilray (TLRY), which surged 19.4% after Privateer Holdings issued a statement emphasizing it does not have plans to register, sell or distribute the 75M shares that it owns when an IPO lock-up expires next week. Also higher was Synnex (SNX), which gained 12.3% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Vail Resorts (MTN), which slid 12.7% after it is lowered its EBITDA guidance after missing its expectations in the pre-holiday period. Also lower was WW (WTW), which fell 5.1% after JPMorgan analyst Christina Brathwaite downgraded the stock to Neutral and cut her price target for the shares to $37 from $70.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 5.97, or 0.025%, to 23,995.95, the Nasdaq lost 14.59, or 0.21%, to 6,971.48, and the S&P 500 declined 0.38, or 0.015%, to 2,596.26.