Stocks recovered ground to turn positive on Monday as investors scooped up shares of defensive stocks in the wake of anxiety that a possible global flu outbreak could further hamper the world economy.

Shares of diversified manufacturer 3M Co helped lead the Dow higher after Barclays raised the company to equal-weight from underweight. 3M's shares rose 1 percent.

Governments around the world moved to contain the spread of a possible swine flu outbreak, as a virus that has killed over 100 people in Mexico spread to the United States and Canada and may have reached as far as New Zealand.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 22.38 points, or 0.28 percent, to 8,098.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 0.02 points, or 0.00 percent, to 866.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> edged up 0.29 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,694.58.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)