U.S. markets were mixed early Wednesday after aluminum maker Alcoa kicked off the third quarter reporting season on a low note.
Alcoa shares fell after announcing it lost $143 million in the third quarter, largely due to one-time charges.
Shares were also lower in Europe, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a visit to Athens there was a "light at the end of the tunnel," referring to the Greek government's ability to reign in its runaway debt problem.
Far from reassuring, the Merkel visit was met with violent street demonstrations.
In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 34.56 points or 0.26 percent to 13,438.97. The Nasdaq composite index was flat, adding just 0.38 point or 0.01 percent to 3,065.41. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gave up 1.22 or 0.08 percent to 1,440.26.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 9/32 to yield 1.75 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2893 from Monday's $1.2885. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 78.34 yen from 78.26 yen.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.98 percent, 173.36 points, to 8,596.23.