US STOCKS-Wall Street rises modestly after testing support level
* Indexes up: Dow, S&P 500 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.35 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were slightly higher in late morning trading on Wednesday, as the S&P 500 tested a key support level after three sessions of declines.
The benchmark S&P index hit a session low of 1,978.63, just above the 50-day moving average support level of around 1,976, before turning higher. The index had fallen below its 14-day moving average, an indicator of short-term momentum, on Monday for the first time since Sept. 15.
"They are trying to hold in the 1,980s and not break that support and close below it," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
"There is clearly weakness developing here, there is definitely selling pressure coming in, it's a matter of (whether they can) hold that support point coming into the end of the quarter."
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.
The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 34.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,090.39, the S&P 500 was gaining 3.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,986.65 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 15.70 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,524.39.
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