U.S. stocks pared losses after data on consumer confidence and manufacturing topped forecasts, easing concern about the economy as $85 billion in federal budget cuts were set to begin.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.3 percent at 1,510.01 at 10:13 a.m. in New York after dropping as much as 0.9 percent.
The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment increased to 77.6 in February, topping the median estimate for a reading of 76.3.
The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 54.2 in February from 53.1 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today.
Economists projected the gauge would ease to 52.5, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion. Estimates from the 81 economists surveyed ranged from 50.5 to 54. The gauge averaged 51.7 in 2012 and 55.2 in 2011.