The Dow and S&P 500 recovered earlier losses to turn positive on Wednesday, helped by data that showed manufacturing activity contracted less severely, while Procter & Gamble gained after the company raised its dividend.

Stocks had earlier fallen, weighed by jitters over the length of the recession following comments from Wal-Mart's chief executive, as well as an uncertain revenue forecast from Intel.

Shares of P&G

gained more than 2 percent after the maker of Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste raised its dividend by 10 percent.

The Nasdaq remained under water with Intel dropping more than 4 percent after it was unable to give a clear projection for the second quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 22.22 points, or 0.28 percent, to 7,942.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> put on 1.03 points, or 0.12 percent, to 842.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 10.34 points, or 0.64 percent, at 1,615.38.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)