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Dow climb ends at 10 days

S&P dips just shy of all-time high in day of small losses

By Daniel Wagner

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 15 2013 8:55 p.m. MDT

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 consumer prices increased in February at the fastest pace in more than three years.

The rise 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.

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