NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks turned slightly positive by mid-afternoon Tuesday as crude oil closed at $61 a barrel. Markets had traded lower earlier as a surge in the U.S. dollar stopped short a rally triggered by optimism over Greece.
The S&P 500 added 0.09%, the Nasdaq was up 0.06%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.16%.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1% to $61.01 a barrel over Tuesday's session in a rally analysts characterized as a technical bounce. The commodity was also showing some buoyancy ahead of weekly inventories data out on Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar gained 1.5% against the euro, 0.37% against the Japanese yen, 0.6% against the British pound and 0.23% against the Canadian dollar.
Eurozone finance ministers reacted positively to new proposed reforms submitted by the Greek government in a meeting on Monday. Among the reforms reported, though not confirmed, Greece will eliminate early retirement benefits, cut defense spending and increase corporate tax rates. Eurozone leaders will meet again at the end of the week. Talks have escalated as Greece faces a crucial repayment to the International Monetary Fund by the end of the month.
"What has been an ongoing distraction amidst an endless series of presumed deadlines and fruitless negotiating sessions seems to be at the point of resolution, one way or the other," Ameriprise Financial chief market strategist David Joy wrote in a note.
The utilities sector was the worst performer on signs of continued sluggishness in manufacturing. Edison International (EIX), Southwest Gas (SWX), Duke Energy (DUK) and Dominion Resources (D) fell, while the Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) slid 1.4%.