Kate Gibson
MarketWatch

NEW YORK: U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, with the S&P 500 index sealing a fifth day of losses, its longest such streak since July, as austerity unrest in Europe sparked investor concern.

As some of the less fiscally responsible countries get their acts together, its painful, but the structure for reform is in place, said Art Hogan, a market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets.

The European Union is moving closer to a fiscal union, and they are taking away the possibility of a Lehman event, so Wall Streets reaction to trouble in Europe is less amplified than it was a year ago, he added.

Anytime you have a big run-up, people who are thinking about taking some profits are looking to do that, said Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, about recent gains that have the S&P 500 index up 2.1 percent for September and 5.4 percent for the quarter, which ends Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.04 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,413.51.

The S&P 500 fell 8.27 points, or 0.6 percent, at 1,433.32 and the Nasdaq composite index lost 24.03 points, or 0.8 percent, at 3,093.70.

The dollar gained against other global currencies including the euro, while commodities added to recent losses, with crude futures below $90 a barrel for the first time since early August, closing at $89.98 a barrel.

What I see is a market that has gotten a little nervous because of whats going on in Europe. We see all this rioting on television, remarked Frederick at Charles Schwab.

Violent demonstrations were reported in Madrid, where Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is under pressure to request rescue funds from eurozone officials. In Greece, police on Wednesday reportedly used tear gas against firebomb-throwing protesters during a strike in Athens over wage cuts deemed necessary for the nation to remain in the euro.

New-home purchases in August remained near a two-year high as sales fell 0.3 percent to a 373,000 annual pace, according to figures released Wednesday from the Commerce Department.

Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. were up 19 cents at $4.72. The drug maker said the Food and Drug Administration agreed to conduct a faster review of Amitiza, a treatment for constipation.