Stocks are edging lower in midday trading as a deadline for avoiding government spending cuts looms with no solution in sight.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23 points at 14,032 as of midday Friday. The Dow and other indexes started lower and were wavering between small gains and losses in later morning trading.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points to 1,511. The Nasdaq composite fell eight points to 3,152.
Energy stocks led the market lower as the price of crude oil fell to its lowest level of the year. Exxon Mobil and Chevron were among the biggest losers in the Dow.
President Barack Obama has summoned congressional leaders to the White House Friday for a meeting, but there are no expectations of a breakthrough.