U.S. stock markets fell Friday, ending the longest winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average in nearly 17 years.
The Dow dropped 25.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,514.11 The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,560.70, just shy of an all-time high from October 2007. The Nasdaq composite index dropped nine points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,249.
The Dow had notched a 10-day winning streak through Thursday, its longest since November 1996. The string of wins pushed the blue-chip index up 484 points, or 3.4 percent, to a Thursday close of 14,539.14. The index's closing price on Feb. 28, just before the rally began, was 14,054.49.
Trading Friday was tentative because investors feared that rising inflation could cause the Federal Reserve to retreat from policies aimed at boosting markets. The government said that consumer prices increased in February at the fastest pace in more than three years.
The increase was driven by a spike in gas prices; the core index, which excludes the volatile energy and food categories, increased more modestly. But both figures rose 2 percent compared with a year earlier, enough to get investors' attention, said Peter Tchir, who runs the hedge fund TF Market Advisors.
"It's real and it's a drag, and I think people are growing concerned that it can get out of control quickly," Tchir said. He said signs of economic improvement and inflation "make them wonder if there will be continued market pressure on the Fed" to end its bond-buying programs.
The market's recent rally to multiyear highs was fueled in part by the Fed's efforts to keep interest rates low and encourage investment.
The Dow's win streak matched a 10-day run that ended on Nov. 15, 1996. To find a longer uninterrupted series of gains, you would have to go back to Jan. 3, 1992, when the Dow rose for 11 consecutive days.
The index's longest winning streak was 14 days, ending June 14, 1897.
Stocks opened lower and extended their losses at 10 a.m. after a closely-watched index of consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level since the end of 2011. The University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment index dropped 5.8 points to 71.8, according JPMorgan analyst Daniel Silver said in a note to clients.
Stocks reversed the losses briefly at midday, then drifted back down in the afternoon.
Traders are processing big banks' scores on "stress tests" administered by the Fed. The Fed said late Thursday that JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs both need better plans to cope with a severe recession. It gave them until September to revise their plans.
Still, the Fed allowed both banks to increase their dividends and buy back their stock, signaling that regulators believe the banks are fundamentally sound.
The stock of JPMorgan fell 98 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $50.02. Goldman's stock rose 82 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $154.84.
The S&P 500 closed just five points from its all-time closing high of 1,565, reached in October 2007.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.99 percent from 2.06 percent early Thursday, as demand increased for ultra-safe investments.
Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States. 1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment. 1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan. 1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war. 1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs. 1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.