NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street declined on Wednesday as protests against austerity measures in Athens and Madrid fueled fears of the euro zone's debt crisis.
When the market closed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 44.04 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,413.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 8.27 points, or 0.57 percent, to 1,433.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 24.03 points, or 0.77 percent, to 3,093.70.
The S&P 500 has dropped for the fifth consecutive session, while the Dow registered a fourth decline in a row.
European stocks and the global equities slipped after angry protesters in Greece and Spain who opposed the new austerity measures clashed with police.
The Spanish government is expected to unveil on Thursday its draft budget plan for 2013, including a new austerity package aimed to check its bloated budget deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP in 2013. Protesters took to the streets in Madrid to express their frustration and anger towards further spending cuts.
On Wednesday, the same kind of protests erupted in Athens on Wednesday and turned violent later, as Greek leaders were preparing to negotiate a new round of cuts in order to satisfy international creditors and get further bailout money.
The uncertainties increased for Greece and Spain's efforts in resolving the two countries' debt problems.
To add to the pressure, the Bank of Spain said the country's economy slowed "at a significant rate" in the third quarter.
Spain's 10-year bond yield topped 6 percent again on Wednesday and the euro fell to a two-week low against the U.S. dollar.
Besides renewed euro zone worries, investors remained concerned about the global economic growth prospects after a series of weak signs. In the U.S., the effect of Federal Reserve's stimulus measures faded and there is lacked new encouraging news to boost investors sentiment, while in China, the world second largest economy, slow-down worries kept nerving the investors.
On the economic front, sales of new single-family houses edged down 0.3 percent to 373,000 units in August despite a price gain, fresh evidence of a bumpy recovery for U.S. housing market, according to Commerce Department's latest statistics Wednesday.
Among the key S&P sectors, energy and techs led the losses, after crude prices saw another sell-off and a third straight decline of Apple hurt confidence in techs.
After a free-fall starting earlier last week, the U.S. benchmark of WTI tumbled again on Wednesday and settled under the important level of 90 dollars a barrel for the first time since Au. 3, and the Brent crude also posted a fall.
The gold also fell and closed at a two-week low. The most active gold contract for December delivery fell 12.8 dollars to settle at 1,753.6 dollars per ounce.