Stocks pared gains on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 turning negative after a weaker-than-expected reading on business inventories.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 25.73 points, or 0.23 percent, at 11,080.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.63 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,171.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 6.40 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,538.55.

Equities had opened higher after the head of the European Commission said the body will present options for joint euro zone bonds, a tool that investors view as a step forward to addressing the region's debt crisis.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)