* S&P 500 has struggled to close over 100-day moving average
* Energy to be in focus with Syria situation uncertain
* H&R Block down after results, car makers up on Aug sales
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday,
as a rally in technology shares lifted the Nasdaq, though
investors remained focused on whether there would be a
Western-led military attack against Syria following a suspected
chemical weapons attack on its civilians.
Energy has been the most volatile sector as investors bet a
Middle East engagement would limit oil supplies. The question of
whether there will be a U.S.-led military strike against Syria
has been the market's primary driver over the past week. Crude
fell 1.3 percent. Cabot Oil & Gas sank 1.8
percent to $39.23.
The Nasdaq was lifted by gains in large-cap tech companies.
Micron Tech jumped 7.6 percent to $15.07 while SanDisk
Corp added 4 percent to $57.50.
In company news, Ford Motor Co and General Motors
both jumped more than 2.5 percent after reporting their
The S&P 500's 100-day moving average of 1,640.44 will be in
view. The index is currently above that level, and surpassed it
in each of the past four sessions, but hasn't closed above it
since Aug. 26, a sign that near-term momentum continues to
A clearer picture on a military move in Syria is expected
after Congress votes on measures to authorize a strike in
several days, though Secretary of State John Kerry said any
resolution approving military force would prohibit "boots on the
ground," comments that indicated that a strike would be limited
"We're waiting for the vote, and then to see what actually
happens," said Mark Grant, managing director at Southwest
Securities in Fort Lauderdale. "People hope there will just be a
tactical strike and that's it. But there are worries about
retaliation and a wider conflict isn't priced into the market."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 27.17 points,
or 0.18 percent, at 14,861.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 5.59 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,645.36. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.64 points, or 0.46
percent, at 3,629.25.
Rochester Medical Inc jumped 44 percent to $19.87
after C.R. Bard Inc agreed to buy the company for $262
Dollar General Corp shares rose 3 percent to $55.48
after reporting results that topped expectations.
H&R Block Inc reported an adjusted quarterly loss
Tuesday that was wider than expected, sending shares down 3.2
percent to $27. SAIC Inc fell 7.5 percent to $14.01
after its results. The two companies marked the S&P's two
biggest percentage decliners.
Hain Celestial Group Inc fell 3 percent to $79.42 a
day after the company said activist investor Carl Icahn and his
entities were cutting their stake in the company by roughly
Data showed the U.S. trade deficit widened slightly more
than expected in July as exports dipped, but a rebound in
imports pointed to some firming in underlying demand early in
the third quarter.
Investors await the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve's
Beige Book summary of economic conditions at 2:00 p.m. The
report will be scoured for insight into when the central bank
will begin to slow its accommodative monetary policies, which
have fueled the equity market's gains in 2013.