(REUTERS) - World stocks and the euro barely budged on Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of yet another meeting of Greek political leaders on painful reforms tied to Greece's second bailout package.

The euro rose early in the session to $1.3290, its highest level since Dec. 12, before paring gains. It was last up just 0.08 percent against the dollar.

The reforms, subject of marathon negotiations between Greece and its creditors, aim at securing a 130-billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue from the International Monetary Fund and European Union to avoid an unruly default.

Sources said European Central Bank policymakers were still split on a Greek debt deal, souring optimism that the process was drawing to a conclusion.

Repeated delays in reaching an outcome already have prompted warnings that the euro can live without Greece.

In addition, an Italian government source told Reuters Italy's gross domestic product may have fallen in the fourth quarter of last year, likely more steeply than the 0.2 percent decline posted in the third. That also put pressure on the euro.

Investors have worried a recession in Europe will put further strain on the global economy.

MSCI's all-country world index, a leading indicator for global equity portfolios, was up 0.2 percent, having cut most of its early gains.

It is going to be a drawn-out process like it has been, but the market has been looking beyond that, Tim Ghriskey, investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York, said of the Greek negotiations.

U.S. stocks were also relatively flat, though the Dow hovered at its highest level in nearly four years.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 15.40 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,862.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.01 points, or 0.00 percent, at 1,347.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.20 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,907.28.

Eurozone officials say the full bailout package must be agreed to by Greece and approved by the euro zone, the European Central Bank and IMF before Feb. 15.


Investors are keen to move past Greece and focus on signs from the world's major central banks they will retain easier monetary policy stances, which should support riskier assets.

The ECB's provision of nearly half a trillion euros in low-rate, long-term funds to banks in December helped prop up risk appetite with a second tender, expected to be similar in size, due at the end of the month.

The ECB and the Bank of England both hold policy meetings on Thursday, with the UK central bank expected to add an extra 50 billion pounds ($79.4 billion) of stimulus via bond purchases.

European shares ended lower. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.2 percent.

Also discouraging for investors, Germany reported the steepest drop in exports in nearly three years for December, and the Bank of France said its economy would not grow at all in the first quarter of 2012.

The German data suggested Europe's dominant economy may have contracted more than thought in the fourth quarter of last year, but recent sentiment surveys pointed to only a brief dip.

U.S. Treasuries prices held steady in volatile trading, with the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note down 1/32, the yield at 1.9786 percent.

Brent crude oil rose, with Brent crude futures last up $1 at $117.23 a barrel, while gold prices fell as technical resistance prompted investors to take profits.

Spot gold was down 0.8 percent at $1,731.79 an ounce. Gold remained up 11 percent for the year, boosted by the Federal Reserve's commitment to near-zero interest rates.