* Indexes up: Dow 0.44 pct, S&P 0.32 pct, Nasdaq 0.42 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher approaching the midpoint of the session on Friday, with major indexes staging a modest bounce back from their biggest drop since July, after data showed the economy grew at its fastest pace in more than two years.
The Commerce Department raised its estimate of gross domestic product to show the economy expanded at a 4.6 percent annual rate, in line with expectations and the best performance since the fourth quarter of 2011.
Major indexes saw their biggest declines since July 31 on Thursday in a broad selloff, with the S&P 500 falling through a key technical support level as Apple slumped and the dollar hit a four-year high.
“The GDP report was just a confirmation of the rebound in the second quarter, and that is all because the first quarter was so dismal, so it evens out there,” said Ian Kerrigan, global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank in Seattle.
“The markets are pretty cautious about being overvalued right now, which is a good thing. It is good to have some skepticism out there, so if the market can be patient and wait for earnings, which it looks like they are doing, that is going to be a positive.”
The gains put the S&P 500 just below its 50-day moving average, which may now act as a technical resistance point. The index fell below that level for the first time since Aug. 15 in the prior session.
The Dow Jones industrial average was rising 75.35 points, or 0.44 percent, to 17,021.15, the S&P 500 was gaining 6.26 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,972.25 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 18.86 points, or 0.42 percent, to 4,485.61.
For the week, the Dow is down 1.6 percent, the S&P is off 2 percent and the Nasdaq is 2.1 percent lower.
In other economic data, The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final September reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment was 84.6, the highest since July 2013, up from 82.5 at the end of August and just below the 84.7 estimate.
Nike shares were trading up 9.8 percent to $87.59 as the biggest boost to the Dow, after the world’s largest sportswear maker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was Janus Capital, which said PIMCO founder Bill Gross would join the company. The largest percentage decliner was the PIMCO High Income Fund, down 8.43 percent.
Advancing issues were outnumbering declining ones on the NYSE by 1,782 to 1,099, for a 1.62-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,581 issues were rising and 924 falling for a 1.71-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 5 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 18 new highs and 62 new lows.
Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski