US stocks ended mixed on Thursday, recovering after poor economic data in the US, Europe and China pushed markets to losses in early trade.
Health care and utility stocks fared well while transportation was a significant loser, the sector falling by 2.6 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 18.97 points (0.14 percent) at 13,596.93.
The S&P 500 lost 0.79 (0.05 percent) at 1,460.26, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 6.66 (0.21 percent) to 3,175.96.
Earlier Asian and European markets closed sharply lower after poor readings of purchasing managers indexes showed continued contractions in industrial activity in both areas.
Meanwhile US data was mostly glum: an unimproved weekly jobless claims figure, a slight fall in the Conference Board's leading economic indicators index, and a continued negative reading in the Federal Reserve's economic activity index for the Philadelphia region.
"What was strong during the early part of the economic recovery is getting weaker now and what was weak is getting stronger," said Gary Thayer of Wells Fargo Advisors.
JC Penney plunged 11.2 percent after the struggling retailer's chief executive gave a warning that sales might continue to be weak for the rest of the year.
Simon Property, the owner of hundreds of malls around the country, fell 3.0 percent after missing forecasts despite a solid quarterly earnings report.
ExxonMobil picked up 1.1 percent on news that it had bought productive Bakken shale assets acreage in North Dakota and Montana for $1.6 billion in cash and asset swaps from Texas-based Denbury Resources.
Bed Bath and Beyond shares dropped 9.8 percent after its second-quarter earnings undershot analysts' forecasts. Earnings for the quarter were $224.3 million, 98 cents a share, compared with 93 cents a share a year earlier.
News Corp shares edged 0.6 percent higher after Britain's media watchdog decided to allow its 39 percent-owned subsidiary BSkyB to keep its lucrative broadcast license in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal.
Apple meanwhile fell back below the $700 line, slipping 0.5 percent to end at $698.70.
Bonds traded flat, the 10-year Treasury yield holding at 1.78 percent and the 30-year at 3.03 percent.