stocks briefly turned higher then traded near flat on Wednesday, helped by gains in energy shares as U.S. oil prices surged.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.19 points at 12,095.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.26 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,258.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.10 points, or 0.00 percent, at 2,686.30.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)