U.S. stocks were little changed, with the Standard & Poors Index 500 Index at an all-time high, as a slump in small-cap shares and concern over Japans recession offset corporate deals.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 2,041.22 at 4 p.m. in New York after earlier losing 0.3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 12.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,647.43, six points from an all-time high. The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies lost 0.8 percent.

Japan unexpectedly sank into a recession last quarter as it struggled to cope with Aprils sales-tax increase. The worlds third-largest economy shrank an annualized 1.6 percent, after a revised slump of 7.3 percent in the previous three months. That missed projections for a 2.2 percent gain in the third quarter.

In the U.S., industrial production dropped last month, weighed down by declines at utilities, mines and automakers that signal manufacturing started the fourth quarter on a soft footing. Separate data showed the Fed Bank of New Yorks Empire Index increased less than forecast in November.

Source: Bloomberg