US STOCKS-Wall St up, led by energy shares, amid Syria tensions
* Brent crude at 6-mo high, WTI at highest since 2011
* Britain to seek UN Security Council go-ahead on Syria
* Pending home sales fall for second straight month
* Indexes up: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.45 pct, Nasdaq 0.55 pct
NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Wall Street advanced on Wednesday after two straight days of declines, as a climb in oil prices lifted energy shares after the United States and its allies appeared prepared to attack Syria, heightening concerns over global oil supplies.
Selling pressure waned on equities in the wake of stocks' worst day since June a day earlier, triggered by heightened tensions over a possible Western response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians by President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The S&P 500 index fell 2 percent in the prior two days and the CBOE Volatility Index rose 20 percent, reflecting investor uncertainty.
"Yesterday was a little overdone but investors need to be ready that volatility is going to be here for a while," said Ron Florance, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"We have this struggle between the short term news and the longer term trends and that is always a recipe for volatility until the market can really find direction."
The United Nations Security Council was set for a showdown on Wednesday after Britain sought authorization for Western military action against Syria, a measure a senior Russian diplomat called "premature" without a report from U.N. chemical weapons inspectors.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.33 points, or 0.37 percent, to 14,831.46, the S&P 500 gained 7.35 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,637.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.687 points, or 0.55 percent, to 3,598.211.
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 Middle East.
The S&P energy index rose 1.9 percent to lead the top ten S&P sectors. Chevron, up 2.5 percent at $121.74, and Exxon Mobil, up 2.1 percent at $88.67, were the top boosts to both the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials.
In contrast, the concerns over higher oil prices dented airline stocks, with the NYSE Arca airline index off 0.5 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 $50.97.
Shares of mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global fell 3.8 percent to $49.37 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 recovery.
PulteGroup Inc fell 1.2 percent to $15.40 and D.R. Horton Inc shed 1.8 percent to $17.66. The PHLX housing sector index dipped 0.08 percent.