US stocks struggled into positive territory Wednesday morning, as comments concerning budget talks in Washington ranged from upbeat to dour.
Erskine Bowles, former co-chairman of President Obama's debt commission, said he thought going over the so-called "fiscal cliff" was unavoidable while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sounded more optimistic a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff was likely.
Each comment in Washington is translated to stock activity -- plus and minus. A key player mentioning a deal could be made is bullish for Wall Street while pessimism on Capitol Hill concerning a budget deal gives bears the upper hand in New York.
In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 25.14 points or 0.2 percent to 12,903.27.
The Nasdaq shed 1.84 points or 0.06 percent to 2,965.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 was flat, up 0.12 points or 0.01 percent to 1,399.06.
The 10-year treasury note rose r/32 to yield 1.624 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2923 from Tuesday's $1.2944. The dollar fell to 81.9 yen from 82.16 yen.
Japan's Nikkei dropped 1.22 percent, 114.95 points, to 9,308.35.