The Institute for Supply Management said its Manufacturing Index edged higher in July to 49.8 from 49.7 in June. Economists expected the index to come in at 50.1, according to Briefing.com.
The Census Bureau said construction spending rose 0.4% in June, compared with a forecasted 0.5% increase.
Companies: Shares of Apple have gained 4% this week amid speculation about a possible stock split and potential for its inclusion in the Dow.
Shares of Time Warner dipped after the media giant reported reduced second-quarter revenue and earnings Wednesday despite improved results at its television networks unit. (CNNMoney is owned by Time Warner.)
Comcast reported better-than-expected earnings and sales figures for the second quarter, as the company added new customers for its Internet and phone services.
Shares of Avon Products fell after the company's second-quarter profit dropped 70% from a year ago and sales fell 9%, coming in below expectations.
Pharmaceutical company Allergan said earnings rose 21% in the second quarter from a year ago. It also announced plans to pay a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.
Harley Davidson shares sank after the motorcycle maker reported sales growth that disappointed investors, even as profits rose.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro and Japanese yen, but gained ground versus the British pound.
Oil for September delivery rose 79 cents to $88.85 a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery fell $6.80 to settle at $1,60.3.70 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.49% from 1.43% late Tuesday..