U.S. stocks pared early losses to trade mildly higher around midday Monday as investors were digesting mixed economic reports.
By noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 27.56 points, or 0.16 percent, to 17,504.96. The S&P 500 gained 3.97 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,095.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.75 points, or 0.31 percent, to 5,063.98.
The August 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity declined for New York manufacturers.
The headline general business conditions index tumbled 19 points to minus 14.9, its lowest level since 2009 and well below market consensus of a 4.75-percent gain, reported the New York Fed on Monday.
Meanwhile, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in August rose 1 point to a level of 61 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest reading since November 2005.
Wall Street will also keep a close eye on the Fed minutes scheduled for release on Wednesday, which was expected to give more clues on the timing of an interest rate hike.
Overseas, Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by an annualized 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015, contracting for the first time in three quarters, government data showed Monday.
The Japanese benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average, however, ended 0.49 percent higher as the contraction of second quarter 2015 was better-than-expected.
On Friday, U.S. stocks gained after wavering between gains and losses in a narrow range as investors assessed a batch of economic data.