European shares turned negative on Wednesday at mid-day after downbeat comments from a German politician about the chances for a comprehensive deal at a leaders' summit this week, aimed at resolving the region's debt crisis.
At 1304 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 990.18 points after earlier hitting a low of 988.80.
The EU summit and the ECB meeting will remain the dominating topics during the next days. With some crucial decisions ahead, investors might prefer a wait-and-see attitude, said Michael Koehler, credit strategist at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Banks, many of which have a significant exposure to peripheral euro zone debt and have suffered badly this year, were up. The sector index gained 0.5 percent, while Austria's Raiffeisen banking group rose 5.5 percent and Belgian group KBC added 4.5 percent.
The banking sector has fallen more than 30 percent this year to be the worst-performing sector in Europe.
Two days before the EU summit, new ideas surfaced about how to boost the bloc's crisis capabilities. Detail of Franco-German reform proposals was due to be presented on Wednesday in a letter to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who will chair a meeting of 27 EU leaders on Friday.
Germany tried to manage expectations. My pessimism stems from the overall picture that I see at this point in which institutions and member states will have to move on many points to make possible the new treaty rules that we are aiming for, said a German official, speaking on condition of anonymity.