The Institute for Supply Management said service industries expanded in August for the 44th consecutive month. The purchasing managers index for non-manufacturing firms reached 60.5 in the month, well above the break-even level of 50.
The Commerce Department said factory orders declined in July after three consecutive months of increases. The decline, however, was concentrated in a drop in fresh orders for transportation equipment. With that one sector excluded, factory orders rose, the department said.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 6.61 points or 0.04 percent to 14,937.48. The Nasdaq gained 9.74 points or 0.27 percent to 3,658.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 added 2 points or 0.12 percent to 1,655.08.
On the New York Stock Exchange 1,461 issues advanced while 1,l625 declined on total volume of 2.9 billion shares traded.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 10.95 points or 0.08 percent to close at 14,064.56.
In Europe, the British FTSE 100 index added 57.70 points or 0.89 percent to close at 6,532.44.
On currency markets, the euro rose to $1.3119 and the dollar rose to 100.13 yen.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold shed $21.70 to $1,368.30 per troy ounce and silver gave up 15 cents to $23.255.
The 10-year U.S. treasury note fell 24/32 to yield 2.993 percent.
In after hours trading, crude oil was up $1.16 cents to $108.39 per barrel on the NYMEX.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for December delivery lost 8 1/2 cents to $4.61 per bushel. November soybeans added 15 cents to $13.67 1/2 per bushel. Wheat for December shed 6 1/4 cents to $6.40 per bushel.