US stocks opened slightly higher Wednesday, as President Barack Obama headed back to Washington to try to secure a year-end 'fiscal cliff' deal with Republican lawmakers.

In roughly the first 15 minutes of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22.59 points (0.17 percent) at 13,161.67.

The broad-market S&P 500 was up 0.99 points (0.07 percent) to 1,427.65, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 0.82 points (0.03 percent) at 3,013.42.

"The action today through Friday will be heavily influenced by news on the fiscal cliff negotiations. Underlying that will be support from the traditional year-end bullish bias," said's Dick Green.

"At least for today, it looks like the seasonal support is enough to boost the stock market given the uncertain outlook for the budget negotiations."

On Christmas Eve, the Dow was down 0.39 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.24 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 0.28 percent. Markets were closed Tuesday for Christmas Day.