U.S. stocks pared early gains, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 briefly trading in negative territory, ahead of data expected to show consumer confidence was flat in October.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 27.96 points, or 0.28 percent, at 9,895.92. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.68 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,067.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 1.88 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,139.97.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)