The Dow Jones industrial average edged down one point to 16,084 just before 12 p.m. (1700 GMT) Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index crept up two points to 1,807. The Nasdaq composite eased one point to 4,058.
After dropping at the open, stocks reduced their losses after the government reported that developers boosted construction spending in October at the fastest pace in more than four years. A separate survey showed that manufacturing activity rose at its fastest pace in 2 1/2 years.
Retail stocks fell following reports that shoppers spent less over the holiday weekend than they did last year, despite turning out in record numbers.