Stocks are lower at the session's half as initial optimism over progress in Europe's debt crisis crumbled amid a suggestion that the bailout fund for the continent's troubled governments would not be expanded.
U.S. indexes downshifted after a German official said the German government was opposed to the concept of combining current and permanent eruo-zone rescue funds, according to a MarketWatch report.
Investors were looking to leaders across the continent to take decisive action to resolve the ongoing debt crisis there. The European Central Bank meets Thursday, when investors are expecting interest rates to be lowered. Also, in Brussels, European leaders will meet Thursday evening and on into Friday, according to reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are hoping to form a new treaty that would lay out tough budget rules for European Union countries. The pact would include sanctions for violators, reports say.
Shares of homebuilders are lower while MarketWatch reports that consumers are expecting home prices to rise for the first time in six months, according to a survey from mortgage company Fannie Mae.
For November, Fannie Mae said respondents see home prices edging up 0.2% over the next year. That compares with a decline of 0.3% consumers had predicted in August.
Commodities are mixed as February gold contracts are up 0.36% to $1,738 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are down 0.76% to $100.55 a barrel.
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