U.S. stocks erased losses as gains in phone and health-care companies offset a slide in small-cap shares and data showing manufacturing expanded less than forecast.

AT&T Inc. gained 1 percent. Weight Watchers International Inc. plunged 14 percent as the Russell 2000 Index lost 0.4 percent. Apple Inc. fell 1 percent to pace declines in technology shares.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 2,061.01 at 3:49 p.m. in New York, after dropping 0.6 percent earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 34.84 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,857.91. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 22 percent below the 30-day average for this time of the day.

The benchmark index fell on the last two days of 2014, giving it a monthly decline of 0.4 percent for the first December drop since 2007. That trimmed its third straight annual gain to 11 percent.

Stocks fell earlier today after a report showed manufacturing in the U.S. cooled in December, settling into a more sustainable pace of growth as the year drew to a close.

The Institute for Supply Managementâ„¢s factory index dropped to a six-month low of 55.5 from 58.7 in November, a report from the Tempe, Arizona-based group showed. The reading in October matched a three-year high.

Source : Bloomberg