Global stocks were mixed Tuesday ahead of a looming deadline for a pre-election US stimulus package, dealers said.
In Europe, London finished the day slightly higher than it began, while stock indices in Paris and Frankfurt wallowed in negative territory.
New York markets were doing well in midday trading after US housing starts rebounded slightly in September.
Oil prices slipped lower a day after OPEC and other major crude producers refrained from altering output policy despite weak virus-hit demand and stubborn oversupply.
Meanwhile, US Democrats and Republicans wrangled over a new Covid-19 stimulus package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set a Tuesday deadline, fuelling fears that nothing will be approved before the November 3 presidential election.
"The likelihood of a deal taking place appears no more likely now than it was a week ago, with the window for it happening... closing fast, as tonight's Pelosi-imposed Tuesday deadline for getting a deal agreed comes into view," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
But Fawad Razaqzada at ThinkMarkets.com felt that the fact that markets were not doing too badly "suggests that investors are convinced that it is just a question of when rather than if the US stimulus package will be signed."
Pelosi's spokesman said she held talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday and would do so again Tuesday, adding that they continued to narrow their differences.
But even if they reach an agreement -- with US President Donald Trump saying he is happy to top Pelosi's $2.2 trillion proposal -- Senate Republicans would likely still not be prepared to back a massive spending bill.
- Brexit saga drags on -
Investors are also keeping tabs on post-Brexit trade negotiations, with Britain welcoming signs that the European Union was ready to intensify them but saying the bloc's commitments did not yet go far enough to restart face-to-face talks.
Britain's chief negotiator David Frost said he had held a "constructive discussion" with EU counterpart Michel Barnier, but added on Twitter that the bloc "still needs to make a fundamental change in approach to the talks and make clear it has done so".
Barnier urged Britain to "make the most out of the little time left."
- Key figures around 1545 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 5,889.22 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.9 percent at 12,736.95 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,929.28 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,233.66
New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.5 percent at 28,340.11
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 23,567.04 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 24,569.54 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,328.10 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1823 from $1.1769 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 105.56 yen from 105.43 yen
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2956 from $1.2948
Euro/pound: UP at 91.25 pence from 90.90 pence
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $40.66 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $42.40