The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average recovered from a low at 14,850 points to close off 42.55 points or 0.28 percent at 14,932.41. The Standard & Poor's 500, which spent much of the day in the black, closed in the red, off 0.05 percent or 0.88 points at 1,614.08. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index also rose early, but ended off 0.03 percent or 1.09 points at 3,433.40.
Trading was light. On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,204 issues advanced and 1,893 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares.
Economic data showed factory orders up 2.1 percent in May, rising for the third month in the last four. The Institute of Supply Management said manufacturing in New York City showed a sharp drop in June although there are indications the lull is temporary, the institute said.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index added 246.24 points, 1.78 percent, to 14,098.74.
Britain's FTSE 100 index shed 0.06 percent, or 3.84 points, to 6,303.94.
The 10-year treasury note rose 1/32 to yield 2.478 percent.
On currency markets, the euro rose to $1.298. Against the yen, the dollar was lower at 100.61 yen.
Gold lost $13 or 1.04 percent to $1,242.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Comex division.
In after-hours trading, crude oil prices added $1.61 to $99.57 per barrel on the York Mercantile Exchange.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, December corn added 2 cents at $5.03 1/4, November soybeans shed 1/4 cents to $12.43 and wheat for September contracts added 1 1/2 cents to $6.56 1/2.