* Brent crude at 6-month high on concerns about supply
* Britain pushes UN Security Council for military action
* Pending home sales fall as mortgage interest rates rise
* Indexes up: Dow 0.48 pct, S&P 0.56 pct, Nasdaq 0.75 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 28 Wall Street rose on Wednesday
as the United States and its allies appeared to edge closer to
attacking Syria, which lifted energy stocks and world oil prices
on concerns about supply.
Equities bounced back after two straight days of declines,
including the S&P 500 index's biggest daily fall since June.
That drop was triggered by heightened tensions over a possible
Western military response to an alleged chemical weapons attack
on Syrian civilians by President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The S&P 500 index had fallen 2 percent in the prior two days
and the CBOE Volatility Index rose 20 percent, reflecting
"It seems like investors are weighing the uncertainty of
what would appear to be a limited military strike against Syria,
and we had the indigestion yesterday," said Jack Ablin, chief
investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
At the United Nations Security Council Britain sought
authorization for military action against Syria, a move certain
to be blocked by Russia. U.S. officials in Washington described
plans for multinational strikes on Syria that could last for
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 71.04 points or
0.48 percent, to 14,847.17, the S&P 500 gained 9.17
points or 0.56 percent, to 1,639.65 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 26.682 points or 0.75 percent, to 3,605.206.
Brent crude hit a six-month high and U.S. crude
hit its highest in more than two years on concerns
foreign military action in Syria may further destabilize the
The S&P energy index rose 1.9 percent to lead the
top ten S&P sectors. Chevron, up 2.5 percent at $121.81,
and Exxon Mobil, up 2 percent at $88.54, were the top
boosts to the Dow Industrials.
"It's more or less just investors looking to add an asset
class diversifier, an asset class that hasn't done much. It's
been a drag all year. My sense is investors were probably
underweight (energy stocks) so they probably want to build a
position to hedge their bets," said Ablin.
In contrast, the concerns over higher oil prices dented
airline stocks, with the NYSE Arca airline index off 0.7
percent after stumbling 3.9 percent in the prior session.
Gold prices rose to 3-1/2 month highs above $1,433 an ounce
as the Syria tensions raised its appeal as a safe-haven asset.
On Wall Street, U.S. government housing finance authorities
are pressing JPMorgan Chase & Co for at least $6 billion
to settle lawsuits over bonds backed by subprime mortgages,
according to a person familiar with the matter. JPMorgan shares
edged up 0.7 percent to $50.94.
Shares of mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global
fell 3 percent to $49.75 after it reported a lower profit for
the third quarter and said orders fell.
Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes fell for
the second straight month in July, a sign that rising mortgage
rates are taking some steam out of America's housing market
PulteGroup Inc fell 1.2 percent to $15.42 and D.R.
Horton Inc shed 1.6 percent to $17.71. The PHLX housing
sector index dipped 0.06 percent.