NEW YORK, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks lost ground in volatile trading Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index dropping for the fifth consecutive session amid concerns over looming debt ceiling wrangling in Washington.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 61.33 points, or 0.40 percent, to 15,273.26 points. The S&P 500 was down 4.65 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,692.77 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 7.15 points, or 0.19 percent, to 3,761.10 points.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told a Bloomberg summit Tuesday that investor confidence in a deal being struck to raise the debt limit was "a bit greater than it should be," according to a Bloomberg report.
Washington faces two looming deadlines: one for funding the government in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1; the other for the debt limit, which the U.S. Treasury Department has said will need to be raised by mid-October.
The market was also weighed on by Wal-Mart, though the American retail giant denied a report that the company is cutting orders amid rising inventories. Wal-Mart's shares ended 1.45 percent lower to 74.65 U.S. dollars after recovering part of earlier losses.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department reported that U. S. sales of new single-family houses in August jumped 7.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 421,000, beating the market consensus.
The department said in a separate report that new orders for manufactured durable goods in August increased 0.1 percent to 224. 9 billion dollars, the fourth rise in the past five months, with July's 8.1-percent fall being the exception.
Moreover, U.S. mortgage applications rose 5.5 percent in the week ending Sept. 20, following an 11.2-percent increase the prior week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, decreased 0.50 percent to end at 14.01.
In corporate news, Amazon.com shares inched down 0.47 percent to 312.65 dollars after the online retailer introduced the third generation of Kindle Fire tablets Wednesday.
In other markets, oil prices dropped Wednesday as U.S. crude supplies unexpectedly rose last week. Light, sweet crude for November delivery decreased 0.47 dollars to settle at 102.66 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for November delivery lost 0.32 dollars to close at 108.32 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 19.9 dollar to settle at 1,336.2 dollars per ounce on pending U.S. debt ceiling fight Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar weakened against most major currencies Wednesday on budget fears in Washington. In late New York trading, the euro jumped to 1.3523 dollars from 1.3477 dollars of the previous session, and the dollar bought 98.46 Japanese yen, slightly lower than 98.80 yen of the previous session.