Just like the Olympic athletes enjoying a break after two weeks of high performance, the stock market appears to be taking a well-deserved pause. After a powerful rally over the past two weeks that came from renewed optimism about the ability of leaders around the world to handle growing macroeconomic uncertainty, whether from Europe's coming recession or slowing growth in emerging market economies, stocks gave up modest ground this morning, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) down about 65 points just after 10:45 a.m. EDT. Some blamed weakness in Japan's GDP figures for the drop, but the 1.4% growth figure likely represents only a convenient scapegoat for a slow Monday start.

Only a few Dow stocks rose higher in early trading. One was Kraft (NYSE: KFT), which has traded at yearly highs for several sessions after posting strong earnings earlier this month. The food giant's trading is likely to stem increasingly from investor interest in its coming split-up, which will divide its grocery-oriented operations from its global snack business. Some believe the company may actually drop out of the Dow after its split.

Meanwhile, Alcoa (NYSE: AA) took it on the chin, falling 1.5%. The aluminum company has been a big winner in the overall stock market's rebound, and it thus makes sense to see it giving back some of its gains as investors once again take a more balanced view about future global economic prospects. The fact remains, however, that the company still trades near its lowest levels since the 2009 market meltdown, and industry fundamentals don't look particularly favorable in the near term.

Finally, Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) fell by roughly half a percent despite a rise in oil that took current prices above $93 per barrel. Both companies rose to new highs for the year during the recent move upward, as healthier world economies point to higher energy demand. Still, low natural gas prices remain a concern for both companies, which took steps to diversify their energy exposure by adding major natural gas acquisitions in recent years.

Just another manic Monday
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.