The bond market likes today's economic numbers. The

Consumer Price Index

was up an expected 0.3% in December. The so-called core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose a less-than-expected 0.1%.

In other economic news,

Retail Sales

rose 0.6% in December, spot on with expectations. The long bond, which marked time ahead of the numbers, climbed more than one-half point higher, pushing the yield below 6.80%. Stock prices also started the session higher.

Conseco

(CNC:NYSE) is trading higher before the bell, up to 5 1/8 to 72 on news that the company will be added to the S&P 500.

Traders are looking at the technology sector, particularly

Advanced Micro Devices

, which is trading up 1 1/4 to 30 1/4 in after hours trading on the tail of the chip makers better-than-expected earnings and an improved internal book-to-bill ratio.

Intel

is up 3/4 in after hours trading. Traders expect Intel's volume to be high today ahead of its earnings report, due after the close. "I think there will be a lot of speculation about them

technology stocks today," said one.

One deal may fizzle.

Tyco's

(TYC:NYSE) takeover offer for

American Standard

(ASD:NYSE), reported in yesterday's

Wall Street Journal

, was rejected last month. An American Standard official, speaking to the

New York Times

, said that yesterday's jump in the company's stock price, was fueled by "additional interest" in the company generated by the

Journal

.

The Limited

(LTD:NYSE) announced that it will close 200 of its stores after its dismal holiday season.

Southern National

(SNB:NYSE) posted quarterly earnings of 72 cents per share, nailing estimates on the head.

Asian markets were mixed. The Hang Seng creeped to 13,293.87, up 4.66.The Nikkei fell sharply in morning trading, dipping below 18,000, and then made up most of the ground it had lost, helped in part by reported buying by Goldman Sachs. At the end of the day it was slightly off Monday's close, down 25.65 points at 18,093.13. The Government continues to give mixed messages on whether or not it will step in to help stem the Nikkei's recent losses. The markets are closed tomorrow for Coming of Age Day.

The DAX closed down 6.07 at 2948.87 on thin trading.

Lufthansa

dominated the news. The airline is changing its bearer shares to register shares--a move that analysts fear will discourage foreign investors.

With most economists expecting no rate change at tomorrow's monetary policy committee meeting, London traders shrugged off interest rate fears and led the

FTSE

into record territory. Keeping a weather eye on today's U.S. numbers throughout the morning session, the FTSE responded positively when those numbers came in, climbing nearly ten points in half an hour. At 9 AM it was at 4139.00, up 31.70

By Justin Lahart

jlahart@thestreet.com