* Indexes up: Dow 0.14 pct, S&P 0.15 pct, Nasdaq 0.32 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher in early trading on Wednesday, after three sessions of declines and ahead of data on the housing market.
Providing support was a renewed pledge by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to keep monetary policy loose for an extended period to push inflation in the euro zone closer to the targeted two percent level.
“Futures are up, it may have been reacting more to the rise in Europe - Draghi came out and said he is going to do whatever is necessary” regarding Quantitative Easing, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
“That lift from Europe is transferring over here.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 23.25 points, or 0.14 percent, to 17,079.12, the S&P 500 was gaining 2.91 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,985.68 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 14.21 points, or 0.32 percent, to 4,522.90.
Bed, Bath & Beyond shares were trading up 5.5 percent to $66.11 as the best performer on the S&P 500 after the home furnishings retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as discounts and promotions lured more shoppers.
New home sales data for August is due at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Sales of single-family homes are expected to increase to 430,000 from 412,000 in July.
Housing stocks were 0.6 percent lower ahead of the data, weighed down by a 7 percent drop in KB Home to $15.79 after the company reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that fell short of estimates.
Accenture shares were off 1.4 percent to $78.47 after posting fourth-quarter results and forecasting first-quarter revenue largely below analysts’ expectations.
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals shares were surging, up 11.1 percent to $7.99 after the company said it reached a deal to develop and market Merrimack’s pancreatic cancer drug outside the U.S. with Baxter International.
The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was Green Dot, up 10.47 percent, while the largest percentage decliner was GrafTech, down 16.76 percent.
Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 1,419 to 1,198, for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,317 issues were rising and 759 falling for a 1.74-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 1 new 52-week high and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 7 new highs and 31 new lows.
Editing by Bernadette Baum