Today: After 10 consecutive days of gains, the Dow Jones finally dips. But it is just a pause before another record-breaking week? Also, Apple (AAPL) shares gain as Samsung's new Galaxy S4 smartphone may not be as formidible a foe as some thought.
Market dips, but it's likely just a speed bump
The Dow's 10-day winning streak, its longest in more than 17 years, came to an end Friday, as all three major stock indexes fell. Still, the losses were incremental, and further high-water marks seem in sight as the U.S. economy continues to show signs of recovery.
Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 dipped about 0.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.3 percent. The Dow slipped 25 points from its record high, and the S&P 500 is still just 5 points from its all-time high of 1,565.15, set in October 2007.
A bigger-than-expected rise in inflation and worries that the Fed would ease back on monetary stimulus gave investors pause, according to experts. "(Inflation is) real and it's a drag, and I think people are growing concerned that it can get out of control quickly," hedge fund manager Peter Tchir told the Associated Press.
A University of Michigan report that found consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in March didn't help matters either. The widely-watched consumer-sentiment index fell 5.8 points to its lowest point since the end of 2011. That may reflect the feeling that while the numbers say the economy is improving, the gains are being felt more by corporate executives than by American workers.
Still, few expect those concerns to be more than a speed bump on Wall Street. "I don't think that one or two days' movement is really going to change the underlying momentum of this market, which I still think is pretty strong at this point," asset allocation manager Cam Albright told Reuters.
"This is a market that is digesting, it's a market that is in watchful wait mode, and waiting either to continue this pullback or getting ready for the next leg," Prudential market strategist Quincy Krosby told Bloomberg News. "It's healthy to have these gaps between run-ups."
Apple gains as Samsung threat eases
While most other big tech stocks fell Friday, Apple surged ahead, gaining 2.6 percent, or $11.16, to close at $443.66, its highest point this month.
The bump came as investors apparently breathed a sigh of relief after Samsung's release Thursday afternoon of its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. While the new phone will likely prove to be a worthy challenger to Apple's iPhone 5 and the upcoming 5S, its release was not seen as a game-changer. Though featuring a biger screen, faster processor and software to track eye movement, the Galaxy S4 didn't blow away experts.
"There was no 'Wow' factor, it only proved to the world that it's getting harder to make a difference on the hardware side," Dongbu Securities analyst Kwon Sung Ryul told Bloomber news. "But the number of carriers that will offer Galaxy S4 has increased from that of S3, so the overall sales are expected to improve."
Jeffries analyst Peter Misek concurred. "We believe the S4 will certainly sell well and it is incrementally negative for Apple," Misek said, according to CNet. "However, the device is not revolutionary, in our view."
Piper Jaffray analyst and Apple bull Gene Munster was even more underwhelmed, saying the Galaxy S4 "an incremental update akin to iPhone S models," according to CNet, with new features that are "minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google (GOOG) Now to Android." Munster said he remained confident Apple will hit its iPhone sales goals this year, and said that the Galaxy S4 will likely have a bigger impact on sales of competing Android phones than it would on iPhone sales.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 9.86 , or 0.30 percent, to 3,249.07.
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 25.03 or 0.17 percent, to 14,514.11.
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 2.53, or 0.16 percent, to 1,560.70.
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services.