The Dow slipped into negative territory as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq cut gains in afternoon trading on Thursday as uncertainty about whether lawmakers will be able to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling weighed.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 6.85 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,295.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.03 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,306.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 12.57 points, or 0.45 percent, at 2,777.36.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by James Dalgleish)