Stocks pared gains on Thursday after data showed construction spending fell for the first time in six months and manufacturing fell short of expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 26.79 points, or 0.21 percent, to 12,978.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 2.69 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,368.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 8.63 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,975.52.

(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak)